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& Sbettes of Discourses 



D.C.L., oxon. ; 

Christ is not to be considered as a mystery superadded to the mysteries of 
Nature and of Providence, but as their explanation, and the means whereby 
they may be borne. 



,/ HARVARD COUW !#■*■* 

J 4 — 6et . 













London, March 2$th f 1873. 


np\HE following discourses can scarcely per- 
A haps be called a "series" in the strict 
sense of the word, as there is no unbroken 
continuity in their order; but they proceed 
onward in the general course indicated in the 
title, " Revelation Considered as Light ; " start- 
ing with Nature as the outcoming of Providence, 
they end with Christ as its complement and 

The discourse on the Divine Government 
owes much to the writings of William Law, 
particularly to his treatise on the "Spirit 
of Prayer," which, now rarely seen, it would 
be a boon to many to have reproduced in 
a popular form, deprived of the more fanciful 
theories which disfigure its otherwise valua- 
ble and reasonable, as well as spiritual, aspects. 


There are in one of the discourses some 
passages, which I cannot now identify, taken 
from the writings of that remarkable but unfor- 
tunate man, William Blake, who was evidently 
an earnest seeker after God. 

I need scarcely say that, although the book 
is dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
His Grace is in no way responsible for any 
of the sentiments which it contains. 

The volume is published in connection with, 
but forms no part of, the series of "Papers 
for the Present Day," now being published 
by the Messrs. Strahan. Its objects are of 
the same nature, viz., to justify the ways of 
God to men, and to endeavour to realise the 
Being of the ever blessed God by that which 
is best within ourselves; the only satisfactory 
proof of His existence, as it is the only sufficient 
explanation of our own. 

A. E., Bp. 





III. — DESIGN i 36 













" And there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the 

day." — Genesis xxxii. 24. 

\T WHETHER the transaction here related 
was real, as it would seem to have been 
from the fact of Jacob's subsequent lameness 
and the custom of the Israelites of not eating 
that part of the thigh of an animal which in 
Jacob's case had shrunk, or whether it was 
imaginary, no doubt the striking and mysterious 
narrative which describes it points to an entire 
moral change which suddenly came over the 
Patriarch ; and if looked upon in this sense, 
it is full of interest and instruction. For such 
events and changes occur to ourselves, and in 
some shape, suddenly or gradually, must take 
place ere we can be said to have gathered the 
object of our being here, or any benefit from that 



being. Often they occur suddenly, and are the 
conclusion and summing up or rapid survey of 
a long previous course of action, resulting in a 
change of life and character, or conversion, as 
it used to be called. Perhaps more frequently, 
however, they are the result of a long and gra- 
dually enlarging vision. In Jacob's case it was 
the former. Jacob had long been absent from 
his native land ; he had left it under questionable 
and difficult circumstances; he had supplanted 
his elder brother in his birthright ; and now he 
is on his return, with his wives and children, 
and all the substance he had gained in his 
foreign sojourn, and is again about to meet 
his brother, who, he hears, is approaching with 
four hundred armed men. He recalls their part- 
ing ; he is not sure how he is to be welcomed ; 
he goes out to meditate at nightfall, and in the 
dark " there wrestled with him a man " — or, 
according to Hosea, an angel — " until the break- 
ing of the day." 

What is the meaning of this ? Probably in 
our way of viewing things, and in our mode of 
experience, something like this took place. 


Jacob is here brought face to face with his fate ; 
he is made to think — as we say, aroused, awak- 
ened. He could no longer live from hand to 
mouth ; he must live in some larger way, in 
some higher manner — on principle, by faith, by 
a faith which would lift him above fear. But a 
faith in what ? The future was dark, the past 
was not pleasant — broken, unmeaning, bad. 
The eternal stars were shining over his head ; 
darkness, silence was around him. Then it 
appeared that somehow he was not alone ; 
some one, some thing came to him ; an angel 
wrestled with him — he with the angel, tjie 
angel with him — until the breaking of the 
day. Jacob demands the angel's name, and he 
desires to know his fate, the meaning of the 
struggle; but he gets no answer. How often 
has not the same happened to mankind — yea, 
to ourselves — and this not only at great crises 
of our lives, but at ever-recurring and certain 
epochs, such as a birthday or the beginning of 
a new year ! We try to see before us ; the 
future may behold us crowned with laurels or 
with dishonour. Is our beloved then alive ? Is 


it a wedding wreath or a widow's cap I see 
upon my child ? How high has the winding- 
sheet mounted upon my own bosom ? Columbus- 
like I climb the mast alone at night to see if 
there is any twinkle of light, any sign of shore. 
But all is dark; the angel is silent, and I 
wrestle on. I hear indeed the voices of the 
abyss, deep calling to deep, a relentless deep 
breaking upon an ever-crumbling shore, the 
wail of the sea-bird, the cry of the solitary cur- 
lew. i Come, O thou traveller unknown by my 
side, who hast no name, who will neither speak 
nor let me go, whose name, if known, is written 
in too gigantic letters for me to read ! O tra- 
veller, or watchman, or whatever thou art, 
What of the night ? Is there no day ? ' But the 
angel answers not nor letteth go until the thigh 
of the wrestler is broken. Then it is that Jacob 
becomes Israel, or a Prince of God, and passes 
to the heavens. 

Yes, it is the great question of life — What 
is .our life ? — the question which life is given 
to answer ; until which be answered, life 
has no meaning for us; the question which 


many, however, seem to pass through life with- 
out asking, in a dumb animal way, as saga- 
cious beasts — yet not without asking, if not 
in articulate language, at least in their help- 
less eyes, or in their dry and hollow hearts. 
The demand is for God- — for the meaning of 
life, the object of life, the cause of life, and its 

It is true that many suppose that they 
have the answer by learning to repeat de- 
finite words and names. But this is not 
the way of the angel in our text. He 
gives no name. He says, ' " Why askest thou 
my name ? " What signifies a name 1 It is 
the thing which signifies. What I am, what 
you are, what life is, that is what I come 
to teach ; that is what you have to learn. 
Go to, let us wrestle.' Again you cry, '0 
traveller unknown, is there no end, no day- 
breaking } ' ' None. No day can break until 
the work of the night is done.' That is the 
answer. You say, ' I would it were not so ; I 
would it were done. Why hast thou made me 
thus ? Why thus subject me to vanity ? What 


is thy name, O angel of darkness ? What ? I 
read it in all things; but the meanings are 
various. I see it in the stars, on the walls of 
Belshazzar's palace, on the tombs in the rocks, on 
the grass, in the flowers, in the sunshine, in the 
shade, in the vast ocean, in the twinkling rill, 
in the dove and also in the hawk, in the sleep- 
ing child and the curled-up snake beside it, in 
millions of animals passed away, in our ever- 
lasting death and life, and Yea and No. I am 
here — here for a day. But what art Thou, Thou 
who inhabitest eternity, and speakest not, 
whose magazines are full, whose treasures are 
vast, but who hast no name over their portal, 
none that we may know Thee by, or which can 
show whether Thou and they are good or whether 
Thou and they are evil. Thou seemest both. 
What is our hope ? Have we any hope ? Is our 
hope in Thee, in what Thou art? And what 
then is that ? ' These are solemn and pressing 
questions. What is the answer ? 

First, then, we may have hope in that we are 
here. Our hope is that, as we are able to ask 
these questions, and able to be anxious for their 


answers, tjiere are answers, and answers which 
when found will satisfy, yea, satisfy completely 
and eternally, the poor, anxious, and pathetic 
inquiry which we make, for it cannot be 
that we are better or greater than that from 
which the power of such questioning comes ; 
and the questioning comes from the depth from 
which we ourselves come. But the answer does 
not lie on the surface. Kings and prophets and 
righteous men have sought and not found it. 
The wise and mighty have not found it ; great 
poets and philosophers — Lucretius, Empedocles, 
and others equally great of old, and now among 
ourselves — have not found it. Yet St. Paul 
says it is not far from any one of us ; that we 
live, and move, and have our being in (the midst 
of) it ; that it is neither far up in the heavens 
above or in the deep beneath, but nigh us and 
in our hearts ; that by the visible the invisible 
things may be seen — the eternal, that is, and 
the victorious. He blames us, indeed, for not 
so seeing. And assuredly, if the sight is satis- 
factory, we are to be pitied as well as blamed if 
we do not see. The teaching of our blessed 


Lord is throughout in the same direction. He 
rebukes men for being able to discern the signs 
of the sky, and yet not able to discern the 
being and government of God. He rebukes 
them for demanding miracles, and not seeing 
God in the order of nature — that very order of 
which men now complain as being their reason 
for not finding God; there being no room for 
Him, they say. But Christ bids us look at it. 
Behold the sparrows, the lilies, the grass of the 
field, the humble things, the common things, 
and find — equally as in the great things — 
the solution of our question. The solution 
evidently is that all things are very good, the 
order of Providence sufficient, the nature ot 
Providence plain ; so that who hath eyes to see 
and ears to hear, if he will but use his eyes and 
ears, may see and hear it. It is so plain and so 
good, that He will not have it altered. He even 
apologises, as it were, at the raising of Laza- 
rus: — "Because of the people that stand by I 
said it." Elsewhere he says, " I thank thee, O 
Father, Lord of heaven and earth ! " Was that 
order different to Him than to us ? Were moun- 


tains removed to give Him a smooth path — a 
calm and smiling existence ? By no means ; 
quite the opposite. He had worse things than 
we have ; and did He not feel them ? His sweat 
was as blood dropping to the ground; His 
death was on a cross. But he accepted the order. 
He did not rebel against it or reject it. He did 
not pray for those legions of angels he spoke 
of, or come down from the cross, or accept 
the gall, or take the previously offered crown. 
He did none of these things. Why ? Because 
He felt that that which was ought to be, and that 
the will of the Father was right. We are not 
considering here the special aspect of Christ's 
atonement and vicarious suffering, but the facts 
of His life and what He did. The atonement 
or vicarious suffering, as being necessary in the 
Divine order, leaves the line of the facts just the 

What do we learn from all this? That one 
event happeneth to all, and that the event, 
whatever it be, is to be accepted — accepted, it 
may be, with struggle, yet with patience, and 
in the faith that it is good. For all life is the 


same. We are all in the struggle of life ; and 
it is a struggle. We are all in the midst of the 
road of life, and on that road we come upon our 
dark hour or hours, and we are beset with an 
everlasting ' wherefore.' What is our answer ? 
What is our guide ? Blessed are we that in our 
case there is One — One who sooner relieves us 
from our struggle than it was possible for Jacob 
to be relieved. We come upon the figure of 
Christ — the historic figure, the recognised figure, 
the Christ of the Gospels and of the Church. 
We come upon this, and find help ; we get light 
from His life, and from His mode of dealing 
with life. We accept His method; we accept, 

that is, the circumstances of life, whatever they 


are. With Him we rise up to the faith in a 
Father, in a Providence which is that of a 
Father, in an end which is to be the result of 
the present way, in an end which would not 
have been but for this way ; and thus we get the 
meaning of life, which before we had not — a path 
and light coming out of the circumstances of life 
and of the struggle in the darkness. We begin 
to prevail. The angel does not as yet tell us 


his name, but we begin to spell out the letters 
of it. There is a dawn in the east ; the night 
is far spent — day is breaking. The night, we 
find, was a school, the struggle an alphabet, our 
dark times hard books and dictionaries, parts 
and particles, as it were the bits of a dis- 
sected map which is becoming whole. There 
is a sound of sense gathering out of the dis- 
jointed syllables ; a world is gathering together 
out of fragments ; the dry bones are beginning 
to look like life ; a future we find coming out 
of the present, made by it, a future of which the 
present is the factor — a bright future, a wonder- 
ful world, a hymn of praise from the cries of 
the battle-field and the dying. The angel is 
beginning to be less dark ; but he has not yet 
given his name. That last stage, however, comes 
at last, and we cry, " My Lord and my God ! " 
We find him no dark angel, but a light one 
who has become dark, that we might by that 
very darkness be able to lay hold of him. The 
angel, the circumstances, the trials of life, we 
find are all part of one thing — that God has given 
them ; that He, in short, has become of them ; 


that He Himself has done these things for us, 
has felt them for us and with us, and assumed 
them, that we from the steps of our own dead 
selves, and from Him dead for us, smitten for 
us, broken for us, cleft for us, should rise up, 
and flow together with Him and by Him and in 
Him, as one with Him, and so able to reign 
with Him, by what He reigns by, for ever. 

The conclusion of the struggle with the angel, 
the revelation of the meaning of life, is the dis- 
covery that the struggle of life for life, and the 
resolution of things to good, is with the Author 
of Life; that He is causing and is Himself 
the cause of the struggle, and this simply be- 
cause of what He is; that He is good, and, being 
good, is desirous of effecting our good, and that 
in the highest regions, viz., in our moral being ; 
and that He does this as alone it can be done, 
by putting us through trials and experiences 
without which it could not be ours — trials and 
experiences which are to be and give the course 
and summing up of our life here. God reveals 
himself to us in Christ, and He says there is 
none other name given under heaven among 


men whereby they can be saved but the name of 
Christ. And why ? Because by this only they 
come to God as He is ; by this only can they get 
the meaning of life. There only, and by the 
spirit which is there, can they overcome life — by 
recognising, that is, the love of God in Christ, 
and being filled with the same love ; by appre- 
hending that nothing can separate them from 
His love, who gave His Son (or Himself), that 
with this He will also freely give them all 
things. That which was in Him, entering by 
this door into them, makes them conquerors. 
The mind which was in Jesus becomes the mind 
which is in them. They rise up to the love of 
Christ by having the love of Christ, and in this 
spirit, and by its power, they overcome, as He 

did, and are set down on the same throne. They 

conquer by yielding, conquer by bearing about 

in their body the dying of the Lord Jesus, and 

by dying as He did. 

But some may ask, 'Can God suffer? Can 

God sorrow ? ' Ask first if God be love. This 

all things teach us that He is — all things 

when seen in their end and object. But if so, 


then suffering (in the way of sorrow) and sor- 
row are inevitable — vicarious, but no less real. 
He that formed the eye, shall He not see ? He 
that planted the ear, shall He not hear ? He who 
instructed the mind, shall He not know } He who 
gave the heart, shall He not feel ? Can the Most 
High be lower than the things He made, or less 
in their high things? Nay, the Most High is 
greatest in all, and higher also in those things 
in which they are highest — in love and sym- 
pathy. He is the Author of our best things, 
and these are our best things, and no doubt 
greater and deeper in the Fountain than in 
the stream. What parent does not suffer with 
his children ? What lover does not sorrow when 
the beloved fails ? Perhaps one of the most 
solemn signs of our fallen state is that we 
do not see this. One of the most pathetic 
utterances of our Lord, " Have I been so long 
time with you, and yet hast thou not known 
me?" is caused by this. We shall, no doubt, 
know one day (it is written so) hereafter, that 
is, in heaven. What then will the result be ? 
" In that day ye shall ask me nothing." When 


you know what all things are, you shall be 
satisfied with whatever is. 

But God in Christ, when He bids us love 
and bear each other's burdens, only lays before 
us the laws of His own nature ; the laws of His 
own life and eternal felicity ; and gives us bur- 
dens which are but benefits. When we are told 
to love the Lord with all our heart, the very 
demand discloses what He is ; for the com- 
mand of love is the desire for love, and the 
blessedness of it is in Himself. If the cross 
of the Lord did not show forth the life of the 
Lord, everywhere and always, and the eternal 
nature of God — doing in time what is needed 
by the creatures of time — far better were it for 
them never to have been born. But that is 
the fact, the Gospel and our hope, that He 
is and does so; that sacred countenance thus 
seen is the ever present state of the suffering 
Deity — ever suffering, ever to suffer, till sin 
and its sorrows are ended ; ever healing by His 
suffering, a vicarious suffering and atonement, 
but none the less real, and one which makes 
the sufferer and the sinner (God and man) 


one together, God blessed for ever, and man 
purified by the blessing. But while we sin, 
our sins are a real suffering unto God, and 
must be so until we apprehend that for which 
we are apprehended, and that is our sanctifi- 
cation. Our spirits are united with His who 
helpeth us towards this union, now and ever, 
with groanings which cannot be uttered. It is 
to bring a new man into the world. We must 
find out the things to do, and the things God 
will not do for us. We do everything at the 
peril of our lives. It is the life which is in peril 
in everything we do — the true life, the high life, 
the spiritual life. He that soweth to the flesh 
shall of the flesh reap corruption. He that 
soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life 
everlasting. In both cases as he soweth. 

The explanation of the struggle of the angel 
with Jacob is that we are apprehended by God for 
a purpose — a purpose for which we were born ; 
and that until we apprehend that it is so, and lay 
hold of it, life as yet has not had its meaning for 
us ; that we are to apprehend this, and that 
until we do so God will not let us go, but will 


struggle with us and teach us, even to the de- 
struction of the flesh ; and that the learning con- 
sists in finding it to be God who is giving us our 
lessons, and that, as He gives them for a good 
purpose, they themselves are good. Blessed are 
we when the revelation is made to us. To some 
it is not until after a long probation, to others it 
seems to come early; and all through life it comes 
and goes with all. Providence at times seems 
hidden from us all, and Christ at times seems 
gone away from us ; yet, as to the Magdalene, a 
word recalls Him, His own word "Mary," or 
the breaking of bread, or the " It is I, be not 
afraid." Then, while the creation loses none of 
its beauty, the sting is taken from its woes, the 
serpent's head is bruised. The son, breaking 
from tutors and governors, finds himself free, 
heir of all, and at perfect liberty as a son of 
God— yet led by law, seeking ever the will of 
the Father, knowing that as the highest good, 
because of what it is ; shunning and fearing sin 
as the poison of the serpent, as that which can 
distort and disturb the fairest paradise, and 
which, if dallied with wantonly, may destroy. 



So that, although the day is sure, we ever 
cry, " Watchman, what of the night ? " While 
knowing the angel's nature as well as name, 
we yet desire to end the wrestling, remem- 
bering, however, that it must go on until all is 
perfected in us — that the small are as much as 
the great with God, and that it is as needful to 
be perfect in parts as in the whole, even as He 
is perfect in parts, to whom the woes and sin of 
a world small as ours were such as to engage 
Him with and for every one, the youngest and 
meanest of us on its surface, feeling and acting 
for the needs of such as much and completely as 
for the universe at large, as much, because of 
what He is, for us little ones, as for the millions, 
it may be, of perfect suns and stars which He 

Jacob said unto the angel, " Tell me, I pray 
thee, thy name ? " And He said, " Wherefore 
is it that thou dost ask after my name ? " To 
Moses He said afterwards, " I am that I am ; " 
and in Christ He bids us say : — " Our Father, 
which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; 
Thy kingdom come ; Thy will be done on 


earth as it is in heaven." That is the meaning 
and end of the struggle — to teach us that ; 
and when we have learnt that, then "beyond 
these voices there is Peace." 

Man, a little light in the darkness of nature, 
is the only thing able to enter into the meaning 
of nature. Nature has a meaning, and this 
meaning can only be apprehended by its Author. 
In part, that meaning can be apprehended by 
man ; so far he is therefore partaker with God, 
in His image, and walking in His steps. And 
this Divine mind we have given us abundantly 
in Christ. Nature as a whole is silent, dark, 
stupendous. It was the Spirit which fashioned 
it — Creator Spiritus. It is the Spirit which 
understands it. It is that which signifieth and 
giveth life ; and so far as man understands, he 
has it — so far as he has it, he understands. So 
far as man understands, he has life, and is 
in intercourse and at one with the Spirit of 
the universe, at one with the Most High, its 
and his Creator, and Sustainer, and Governor. 
Behold how great a matter a little spirit is. As 
man recognises and comes to this, a great calm 


enters into him; he has not only looked upon God 
and lived, but he comes to live by looking. Jacob 
has become Israel ; the Sun has risen on Peniel ; 
and if he halts upon his thigh, what is it when 
death has been swallowed up in victory, and 
the dark angel has become the angel of light — 
the light found to be the product of the dark- 
ness — and the hard ribs and skull of the de- 
stroyer are changed into the wings and blooming 
features of a messenger from heaven, and the 
traveller unknown into the one and eternal love 
and righteousness ? Amen. 

■ w v^ wv i*^ *■"! 

.j ■» mLnnuit ui pin i w^'jti j ■« 'w. ■w.gBWBqBagewegBw 




To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." — Philippians i. 21. 

/^^UTSIDE the gates of Rome, three miles 
down the Tiber, is the church of the Great 
Apostle of the Gentiles ; where he still speaks 
to the Romans from beyond the walls. Some 
fond hand has put above his tomb his own 
words, "Vas Electionis," and below it "Mihi 
vivere Christus est, et mori lucrum." Outside, 
Paul — Within, Peter! Peter, who probably 
was never in Rome at all, who, by its silence 
respecting him, the Epistle to the Romans 
implies had not been there before, and was 
not there when it was written, sud who could 
scarcely have been there after! Peter, who 
perhaps never would have been thought of as 
connected with the place, had not the "super 


hanc petram " required his presence ! All 
modern research points more and more, with 
regard to the Apostle of the circumcision, that 
it is the Euphrates and not the Tiber by which he 
sleeps, and that the whole superstructure of the 
great Mediaeval Church is built on a false foun- 
dation. To us, however, " Thou art the Christ the 
Son of the living God " has come through the 
Apostle who dwelt two years at Rome in his 
own hired house, and who now lies beside its 
stream, thence still speaking to us to-day, as for 
eighteen hundred years he has spoken : — 

"Mihi vivere Christus est, et mori lucrum." 
I remember one night sitting with the 
Father Hyacinthe in Rome, in the midst of his 
troubles, at a time when there seemed to him an 
end of all perfection, and his heart failed and 
flesh fainted. But when one said, " Mihi vivere 
Christus est, et mori lucrum," he exclaimed 
with joy, a Yes, it is enough — it is all." And 
now he too — the beloved brother Hyacinthe — is 
outside the gates of Rome. 

For eighteen hundred years that voice has 
issued from that tomb saying the same words. 


And how great has been the effect ! How 
many sons and daughters of Adam have they 
not consoled and strengthened ! Nay, have they 
not changed the face of Europe ? Eighteen 
hundred years is long in human history ; but 
in the history of the earth it is but a day : yet 
in that day how much has been accomplished ! 
When these words were uttered, our Britain 
was inhabited by painted savages ; the Caesars 
reigned on the Palatine, the Ptolemies in Egypt ; 
the East had still a great king ; Jupiter and the 
gods dwelt on Olympus ; bloody sacrifices were 
offered daily in Jerusalem; Mahomet was un- 
born, the Pope unheard of. But who now 
reigns ? " Who cries ' vive TEmpereur ! ' to me 
or Hannibal now," said the first Napoleon, 
" though all cried so when we crossed the Alps ? 
A Jew is king — who died as a malefactor." 

In St. Paul's time, however, Christ was not yet 
recognised as king ; and he was himself brought 
before kings as a malefactor for the namesake 
of the future King. Doubtless he foresaw, even 
when he suffered, the future glory and the reign 
of Christ, far more than we have even yet seen ; 


for he said, "At the name of Jesus every 
knee shall bow." But though he knew that all 
was contained in that name, as the acorn holds 
the oak, it was but in part understood even by 
him at that time. For he had to learn by de- 
grees what was meant by Christ, what His life 
and death contained, and was still learning this 
up to the last, passing from one degree of 
strength to another, to apprehend that for which 
he was apprehended; and his last as his con- 
stant prayer was, " that I may know Him." 

So it must be with us all. The mere name is 
no " Open Sesame," which removes mountains 
with its sound. It is in that which it means 
and signifies, that its virtue lies. And just as we 
realise that meaning and signification, so is the 
virtue; for salvation is not the child of igno- 
rance, but of knowledge, and we are saved by 
that which we know, not by that which we know 
not. The keys of heaven are in the hands of 
Christ, and He transfers them to ours, as by 
Him we come to see what Heaven means. We 
may know Christ after the flesh, as St. Paul had 
once known Him — known and persecuted Him 


— as many know Him in whose streets He has 
taught ; but this is not to know Him. To liken 
little things to great, and to make clear what 
we mean — it is as if in a lower region one who 
had not read his works had seen Shakespeare 
in the streets. In the higher and more awful 
world, Christ is not known until what He re- 
veals is known. 

St. Paul earnestly sought to know it. He had 
been called to the search on the way to Damas- 
cus. Probably he had even before had some 
misgivings of his ignorance, when he found 
himself persecuting that " just One." For Saul 
the persecutor had evidently a high sense 
of righteousness. But after the Divine call 
the truth came on him with such power that 
he gave his whole mind and time to the appre- 
hension of Christ — what He was and what He 
meant. He counted all things but loss which 
did not lead to it. His life, he at last came to 
know, was hid with Christ in God ; to him to 
live was Christ. Christ was the cause of his 
life, his new life ; and Christ's life was that by 
which he lived. Christ came to him as the reve- 


lation of such riches, that if by possibility it 
could be shown to be a dream, " then," says he, 
" we are of all men most miserable." He found 
in Christ the solution of the mysteries of life 
and of nature ; the ocean to the river of his 
thoughts, the source from which they came, 
the end to which they went ; the secret of the 
universe, the explanation of his own life ; the 
opening of the future, and the place of all he 
loved. It gave him the keys both of Heaven 
and hell. It opened Heaven, and shut hell, by 
giving him a Heaven which, if at times far off, 
was ever sure in the bosom of the Father, and 
which shut up hell by exhausting it of its dark- 
ness, giving it a meaning and power, by showing 
that it is not endless, but the way to righteous- 
ness. " Who," says he, " shall Separate us from 
the love of Christ ? " i.e., from the love of God, 

as seen and pledged in Christ, in having whom 


and which we have and must have all other 
and lesser things, to be revealed in their due 
season. We are to live, as Paul lived, in the 
belief and vision of this, ever seeking to ap- 
prehend that for which we are apprehended, 


in the land of the living being saved by hope 
— a hope which leads to that perfect day, the 
pledge and model of which we have already 
in Christ. 

As he went on, revelation increased upon 
St. Paul ; other worlds dawned upon him within 
and without ; he no longer found it difficult to 
realise the presence of God in the world, for he 
found all the earth full of His glory, the inner 
world calling to the outer, deep to deep, until 
the very waves and billows which had gone 
over him were turned into mountains of light 
and life. Forgetting that which was behind, 
he ever stretched forward, without fear or trem- 
bling, to that which was before. Knowing the 
Lord, he was not afraid of evil tidings. And 
now he found that what had once been his fear 
became his comfort. The saying, " Ye have not 
chosen me, but I have chosen you " — the arbi- 
trary power, as it once seemed to him, exercised 
on the part of God, which had been his fear — be- 
came his consolation as he knew God in Christ. 
If Christ be God, he felt, He may well be left to 
arrange times and seasons as He pleases, seeing 


He is ever acting in accordance with His own 

Throwing himself into this, St. Paul says, 
" To me to live is Christ." I live for that for 
which Christ lived, I die to that to which Christ 
died ; I live by that by which Christ lived ; I 
am saved by the same hope, by the same fear. 
" Thou art my portion, O Lord ; " Thy will, my 
will ; a will and portion, which I accept because 
of what Thou art. And who has not felt, from 
past experience, how much better it would have 
been for him if he had ever taken God's will, 
his own heart telling him that the will of God 
must be good towards His creatures and the 
most blessed choice in itself — to be loved for its 
own sake, and chosen for what it is? Do we 
not know that if we had heartily accepted that 
will in earnest, we should be very different from 
what we are to-day ? As we follow, as the 
mind is in us which was in Christ Jesus, do 
we not know that we enter into joy of the Lord, 
the rest of Christ, and the victory of Christ? 
Walking in the same path, in our measure — 
alas, how small by reason of our own short- 


comings — we are set down with Him on His 
throne even as He is set down with the Father 
on His throne — the same Father, the same throne 
— the same path and end — the way of the Father 
and the Son — one Spirit, the all in all — Christ 
the first-born among many brethren in the 
house of one Father — one house of many man- 
sions. In Christ the Spirit descends on man 
to lift him up to Heaven, the manhood is 
taken into God, man is united to God by the 
one Spirit, which proceedeth from the Father to 
the Son, and from the Sqn to the Father. So 
made one, Christ is not ashamed to call men 
His brethren. 

Christ, the great Revealer, makes known to 
us the mystery of the Father and the Son. He 
came to show us the way to the Father. And 
as He lived by the Father, so are we to live 
by Christ. Christ is our bread, as the Father 
was the bread of Christ. St. Paul lived by it ; 
wherefore he says, " To me to live is Christ." 

Blessed Paul ! but no less blessed we ; for the 
bread is ours, and Christ remains for ever. God 
liveth ever ; and man lives by that which pro- 


ceedeth from His mouth. His word or will is 
ever going forth ; and so far as we accept that 
will, which is given us momentarily in the daily 
circumstances of life, and live by it, we are 
living by the same bread and have the same 
life as Paul, yea, as Christ Himself. Our life 
with God in Christ brings us into direct contact 
with the living God by the circumstances of life 
which He is giving us, and by which we can 
reach to Him who is thus ever accessible. 
Christ gives us the key to the true attitude of 
every son of man. 

Travelling through the sunny vineyards of the 
South, the crucified figure may look out of place 
among the smiling peasants and laughing girls. 
But life, on the whole, is, we feel, represented 
by that figure; death ends all, illness accom- 
panies life, friends are taken out of sight. The 
figure of a sympathizing and suffering God 
comes to be the great explanation and cure. In 
Christ this is before us. 

St. Paul took Christ as his companion for the 
way; and this companionship, while it made 
him keep on the way, never taught him to shun 


anything on the road, or to leave the world and 
seek to save himself as a recluse or monk. He 
remained in the world, and was kept from its 
snares and lower life, by being lifted up into a 
heavenly region, where all the world's waves 
and billows, as well as its seductions, were unfelt 
or overcome by the blood of the Lamb, in whose 
steps he trode. No doubt it severed him from the 
ordinary current of the world. All who walk 
with Christ are separate from the lower life. 
But Paul did not put human life out of sight 
because of a better life beyond. He put the 
lower life by, but not life itself. He put it by 
here for a better here and now. Christ, and God 
through Christ, were as fully with Paul here as * 
they could be hereafter. 

But why, then, does he say " to die is gain," 
and in another place "to depart, to be with 
Christ, is far better " ? He did not wish to be 
saved out of the hands of Providence. It is the 
same Providence here as hereafter. Possibly 
when he wrote this, as when he also wrote 
that he expected to meet the Lord in the air, he 
did not know, as afterwards he knew, what the 


fulness of Christ meant. That he expected, as 

we expect, a bodily Christ, is probable. But that 

this would give him a fuller revelation of God 

he could not think. Personal affection would no 

doubt have an influence, as it has with us all ; 

but yet this could not be his meaning; for a 

limited and visible personality could not be 

realised by all. A personal reign (as was 

dreamt of) at Jerusalem, or even in Heaven, 

with a visible body which must have limitation, 

will not supply the want. Something, perhaps, 

like that which is dreamt of by the Roman 

Catholics, where in their mass each possesses, 

or is supposed to possess, a whole Christ, so 

* realised as that the individual seems to touch 

and handle the Divine nature, may be nearer 

to his meaning. But to be a partaker of the 

Divine nature infers a spiritual apprehension 

and communion— an apprehension of Divine 

things in a Divine Spirit. And no doubt 

this was what St. Paul meant; that he might 

know Christ as he was known by Him. " We 

shall see Him as He is," St. John says ; which 

can only be by our being as He is, in the same 


element and in the same Spirit. So only can 
we see him, 

St. Paul saw Christ, and was lost in the 
heavenly vision. He desired to draw nearer, to 
die to all but it. He found Christ's seal upon 
the world, Yea and Amen for good upon it. He 
saw Christ rolling back the clouds of sin and 
sorrow from it, and keeping them down with 
His cross. He saw God in Christ ; that He was 
good — light, and no darkness at all. He saw in 
Christ the way; and he took the way. To 
have the mind which was in Christ was his 
hope. All was lost if he found not, knew not, 
had not Christ. In Him he had all. In Him all 
was secure. Christ kept, nay, was the key of 
the kingdom. All the little feet of childhood, 
all the lost voices of sons and daughters, the 
touch of a vanished hand, the smile of a dying 
lip, he found laid up in Christ, treasured in the 
treasury of eternity, rolled back with Him on 
the returning leaves of the past. The music 
of Heaven raises the dead; the notes were 
written on earth, but played in heaven. The 
archangel's trump to him revived the world, 



clearing it from its decay. " Behold He cometh 
* with clouds." So it is ever. He only sees who 
has eyes to see. One day all eyes will be opened. 
St. Paul felt there was a day coming when the 
clouds would vanish. It was for that he longed. 
The clouds often cover us. But we should 
hear God saying, " Have patience with me, and 
I will pay thee all." Overcome evil with good. 
Let the mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, 
and ye will overcome. It is only love which 
overcometh ; which makes the world go round, 
which created and maintains it; and which, 
as we possess it, gives us all things. Enter 
. then into the spirit of a son. You glorify your 
Father by this spirit. Glorify Him, then, and 
enjoy. St. Paxil did this, and, finding the result, 
sought to bring all men to the knowledge and 
enjoyment of their blessings. Blessed Paxil ! 
blessed and blessing others. By this spirit it was 
that he overcame Nero, his lions and his sword, 
and is now overcoming the world. Thus was the 
amphitheatre overcome, and the coarseness and 
brutalities of the Middle Ages. Thus shall be 
overcome the luxuries and difficxilties of our day ; 

^^^*— ^^^ 


and, by the knowledge and recognition of Christ, 
shall the world rise ever higher and higher to 
the perfect day. 

"Our beloved brother Paul." It was St. 
Peter who called him so; Peter, whom he 
had rebuked at Antioch ; Peter, called the 
Prince. Was he then the Prince ? If, when so 
rebuked, he could reply, " beloved," we recognise 
the claim. But these two were one. If, where 
now he is, St. Peter could behold what has 
grown up on Tiber's banks in place of his fair 
Christ, the "Tu es Petals" would strike chill 
upon his heart. The " mihi vivere Christus est " 
admits of no mistake. 



" How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God ! how 
great is the sum of them ! " — Psalm cxxxix. 17. 

HTTHE Psalmist here speaks of the thoughts of 
-*■ God. We shrink, perhaps, from applying 
such language unto God. But we must use human 
expressions, and it is possible that in this one 
word we do more than use a mere similitude, 
and that thought is liker unto that which God 
really is, than any other of our descriptions of 
the Deity. We speak of the face, the mouth, the 
hands, and other aspects of God, all of which, of 
course, are mere human metaphors. It may, 
however, be different with the matter of thought. 
Thought is original, thought is creative ; we 
think of a thing, and an act follows upon it. 
No act can take place without a previous 
thought. Act is the child of thought and the 


evidence of thought ; whatever is done or is 
created, is the work and proof of a foregone 
thought. The acts of God possibly lie under the 
same conditions ; same in regard to any interval 
of time ; the acts of God, that is, are preceded 
by thoughts, as are our own. At all events, we, 
following the Psalmist, can do no wrong when 
we think or speak of the thoughts of God. 

What, then, are the thoughts of God ? We 
may gather them from His acts and from His 
works of creation and providence, and, above 
all, from the manifestation of them in Christ. 

In nature, the heavens declare the glory of 
God and are the expression of His mind — His 
foregone thoughts. When, after much search 
and the discovery of former errors, the great 
astronomer Kepler found the true path of the 
heavenly bodies, he cried, " Now I am treading 
in the steps of God." He had come upon His 
thoughts. The laws of nature and the objects 
of these laws are results of the thoughts of God. 

I myself am the product of His thought. I 
could not have been had He not thought of me, 
wished for me, conceived me. I am His offspring, 


the product of His thought of wisdom ; I am His 
son ; and I have in me multitudinous proofs of 
His paternal and incessant care and provision. 
When I violate a law of my well-being, I hear 
within me His voice saying, "Why will ye die ?" 
When I violate a law of the well-being of others, 
the same voice resumes, " Ye are brethren ; why 
do ye wrong one to another ? " All the eleva- 
tion I have — all which goes beyond the margin 
of sight and time— all which is beyond the light 
of setting suns — the power 1 have of imagining 
a better world — that by which I know what 
I ought to be — I have from God. They are radi- 
ances of the eternal light, coming to me from 
a better and higher than myself; signs of that 
which He is, and I ought to be and shall be ; 
proofs of what He is, and what He had in view 
in my creation, and what were His thoughts for 
me. " How precious are they ! " 

Therefore it is the Psalmist, when he says in 
another place, " I have seen an end of all perfec- 
tion" — when man fails him, and he sees none 
righteous, and feels himself not to be so — is 
able to add, "But Thy commandment is ex- 


ceeding broad." That is to say, I feel that there 
is a right that is somewhere ; I know what it is, 
and that it should be, and shall be. When the 
spectacle of this evil world appals me, the con- 
sideration of what is right, what the eternal 
laws are, and what the Lawgiver is and must 
be, consoles me, and I am lifted up and set at 
rest by getting on this Rock which is higher 
than I, higher than that in which I am highest — 
higher than I, higher than any other body or 
thing here below — the high, eternal, righteous 
God ; righteous because eternal, eternal because 
righteous, righteous because love. 

I take the first commandment — "Thou shalt 
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
soul, and mind." Does any one keep it ? Does 
the world reflect it ? Is it possible to keep it ? 
Does it not seem a hard obligation ? But let us 
look at the meaning of it. What is its cause ? 
Does Deity gain by our observation of it ? Does 
He stand in need of its performance, or even of 
our existence ? Is He obliged by our assistance ? 
Was He obliged to create us ? We must answer 
all these queries in the negative. What, then, 


is its cause ? It is a demand for love. But 
what is a demand for love, but the demand of 
love? Let us look at it in this light — no 
doubt the true and only just light — and its 
difficulties and burden of obligation vanish 
away. We find it brings us into, because it 
reveals, the very heart of God. And so with 
all the commandments, although with none so 
much as this ; for this not only brings us face to 
face with God, but brings us to Him one by one, 
as if there were no others but God and ourselves 
in the world, and He were asking us individually 
for our own and personal love. This is a fact, 
and the reality of our being and its end — the 
object of the thoughts of God concerning us. 
Surely we may say, "How precious are thy 
thoughts unto me, O God ! " 

And let none be put from the acceptance of 
this truth by considerations of the vastness of 
the universe, and the impossibility that God, 
occupied with such great and multiplied objects 
as He there must be, can condescend to or be 
capable of occupation with so small and vanish- 
ing a point as a man or men, or even this world 


altogether. For, observe, that which God is, 
He is and must be everywhere and always, per- 
fect and the same at the smallest point and in 
the shortest time, as in the vastest space and 
throughout the ages of eternity. The micro- 
scope reveals the same perfection as the tele- 
scope. My little heart, my little day, is no less 
precious to God — perhaps it may be more so — 
than the greatest bulk of suns, and the roll 
of the eternal heavens. Is not a heart which 
can look into my heart, and know what love 
means, more to me also than the vastest ir- 
responsive, unconscious seas and mountains r 
And then it is true that He made me ; and He 
made me because He wanted me. He had a de- 
sire for me — for my love. He thought of me be- 
fore I thought of Him. This is His grace, His 
electing love. I am His choice. I rest on the 
thought of this — that I came from Him, that I 
am His. My being I owe to Him. I am pre- 
cious to Him. The thought of this is precious 
to me. But if I owe my being to Him, and it 
is precious to Him, so must my well-being be. I 
am ever in His hands ; He must ever, therefore, 


be providing for my welfare ; and He changes 
not. Change in me does not produce change in 
Him. Can anything then separate me from 
Him? My sins? Yes, sin will separate, does 
separate. But what is sin ? Is it not the sign 
and consequence of a previous separation ? 
Let me but keep close to God, and I shall 
not sin. I love God. So long as I abide in 
this, as long as this seed remaineth in me, and 
I remember that I am born of God, I shall cease 
from sin. It is the forgetful ness or outrage of 
this which causes and is sin. Sin separates; 
that is its punishment. Separation leads to 
sin ; that is its origin. It is flux and reflux, the 
repetition of cause and effect. But ever the same 
throughout all remains the being and nature 
of God. That this does not change, and that He 
is acting ever in accordance with it for our well- 
being as there is need, is my hope and confidence. 
I trust not to what is in myself; I trust to that 
which is in Him. Sin requires punishment to 
cure it. It is aberration ; it cures itself. But I 
help on that cure when I remember what God 
is, and what I am to Him. I remember His love, 


His purity, His righteousness. I give thanks at 
the remembrance of His holiness ; I rejoice at 
it, I rejoice in it. In this I have a pledge of my 
own holiness, that He will not leave my soul in 
sin, but will with every sin give its due crop, until 
I learn that it is an evil and bitter thing, and 
know that my Father has a better and the best 
thing in store for me when He desires and com- 
mands my departure from sin. 

By storm, by sunshine, by losses and crosses, 
He teaches me as I have need ; and the teaching 
is ever going on. I may not be aware of it, I 
may forget it; but there it is. Men shall be 
and are all taught of God, although they seem 
unconscious who is teaching. But He is teach- 
ing all, and always — sometimes by His silence, 
sometimes by His storm. Yet it is we ourselves 
who make the storm; the Everlasting is ever 
still. We run against the bosses of His buck- 
ler, and fall down. We stop our horses in the 
midst of their noisy pace, and are ashamed of 
the noise we have made in the eternal silence 
around. Yes, He abideth, and abideth ever the 
same ; teaching, and going on to teach ; judging 


that He may teach, not teaching that He may 
judge. At great emergencies we recognise His 
touch. Should we not also recognise it in ordi- 
nary things ? Should we not see the face of the 
Father in the working of the eternal laws as 
well as when they seem to be suspended ? 

Too often we shut out the greater by the less, 
the light of eternity by that of time, the sun- 
shine by closing our shutters and lighting a 
lamp. But it cannot last. The sun streams 
into the ball-room when the morning comes — 
a little ray at first; but by-and-by all other 
lights wax dim, and the dancers go home 

Men's faces reflect not the Divine light, but 
the broken and discoloured lights of common 
artifice. The sweet voices of nature and the calls 
of early dawn are not heard because of the noise 
of the artificial music. Night comes on — and 
then another thing is revealed, that the sun 
himself shut out more than he showed. With 
the descent of that one glaring orb, a thousand 
worlds shine forth — worlds which his garish 
beams had hidden. Even so our lives hide what 


death will reveal, and our vulgar life what the 
Divine would make manifest. 

Many pass through life and die old, who 
seem never to have heard the constant call of 
God, " My son, give me thine heart." They see 
not the light of the heavens nor hear the eternal 
chime for the fires and noises of earth. 

The thoughts of God are necessarily good 
towards us ; for they are determined by what 
He Himself is. He made man in His own 
image; He had no less a thought for him 
than that : that he should be a partaker of the 
Divine nature. And as no nature akin to the 
Divine can be blessed in any other way than that 
in which the Divine itself is blessed, His light 
is to be our light. In God's light we are to see 
light. He bids us enter into the joy of the Lord ; 
and that His joys may be our joys there is but 
one course — for there is but one such nature — 
a moral, benevolent, righteous course, triumph- 
ing by good and righteousness. That the will 
of the Father may be done on earth as it is in 
Heaven, as it is by the Father and the sons of 
God — who are the sons of God by doing His will 


—this should be our prayer and endeavour, as it 
is both God's will and our own blessedness. That 
our will should be brought into accordance with 
His, and run in the same channels, to have the 
same end, this is to lay hold of eternal life ; and 
that we should lay hold of it was God's will when 
He created us, His thought for us ere He made 
us. How blessed that thought, how high that 
intention, we shall know just as we fulfil it and 
become partakers of it. Partakers of the Divine 
nature! A thought impossible save to those 
who are partakers ; but such know that no 
other thought was possible. " Oh, the depth of 
the riches ! " And such also know why and how 
it is that when they go astray the Shepherd 
goes to seek the sheep, to gather and find the 
lost even at the expense of His own suffering. 

Does this take aught from the merit of the 
work ? Where love is, there is no question of 
merit, but of salvation ; no other word but 
" My son who was dead is alive again ; he 
was lost, and is found," All are dead and lost 
who are not alive unto God, and having their 
rest in the arms of the Father everlasting. 


The paths which God has prepared for us to 
walk in are paths of pleasantness and peace. 
They greatly err who suppose that by any other 
way either peace or pleasantness are possible. 
But, alas ! it is too often necessary that through 
much tribulation men shall enter into the king- 
dom of God. For if we cease from the ways of 
God, we lose the meaning of our lives. They 
become disjointed, purposeless, and dark ; and 
the end is death. With the way the prospect 
grows clearer and nearer, and the end, everlast- 
ing life, is laid hold of even here. Do we not 
feel it so, and that the lives we lead, as we add 
them up, and as they are led, are bringing us 
nearer and nearer to a perfect day, or removing 
us farther from it, just as we follow or not the 
leading of God ? Does the light grow more dim ? 
Is it not because we are taking our own thoughts 
in place of the thoughts of God, reversing and 
bringing to none effect the purposes He had for 
us — making lines of our own which lead to no- 
thing, instead of taking His which lead to all 
things? Are we without the consciousness of 
God's presence, as if there were no God in the 


world ? Is it not because, by quitting the path of 
purity and holiness which His will had chalked 
out for us, we have disturbed the element wherein 
He is to be found ? We often seem to live in 
darkness and uncertainty, as if there were no 
God, because we go not back to the Eternal 
Cause, which is ever at the root of all, and which 
is ever touched, as it is ever present, when we 
fall back on the moral element within our hearts. 
We too often find no personal God because we 
are gone out of the element where He can be 
found— where only a personal response is pos- 
sible. "Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, 
and the paps which Thou hast sucked," cried 
" a certain woman " to Jesus. " Thy mother 
and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to see 
Thee," said others. But to the one He says, 
" Blessed are they that hear the word of God, 
and keep it;" and to the other, "Whosoever 
doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven, 
the same is my brother and sister and mother." 
What meaneth this ? Surely that whoso doeth 
the will of God is present with God, and th^t 
all such are brethren. 


Christ tells us where to find and how to find 
a personal God — that He is to be found in the 
doing of His will ; that that will gives us the 
presence of God Himself; that wherever the 
thoughts of God are, He is, and His will is, in 
our heart. " My meat/' saith Jesus, " is to do 
the will of Him that sent me, and to finish 
His work." In this He found the Father, and 
lived by the Father. It is, or may be, the same 
with us* 

And what a thought of the Father is Christ ! 

That the Godhead should become man, that 
the manhood might become God ! The Father 
first makes man in the image of God, and then 
God in the image of man. He makes the God- 
head into man, that He may take the manhood 
into God. What a thought is the incarnation ! 
The putting of the Godhead into man, that man 
might see, and touch, and handle the eternal 
life ! For this life was present in Christ, and was 
manifested unto us. The Word became flesh; 
and as our words declare our invisible thoughts, 
so the Word revealed the invisible Father, and 
manifested the life that we might have fellow- 



ship with it — " fellowship " by having " an un- 
derstanding " of Him that is true, and, by- 
understanding, sympathy and loving adoration. 
And what a life was that which was mani- 
fested! The life of Love — Love bearing our 
burdens and carrying our sorrows — Love, the 
bearer of burdens, to whom there is no ob- 
ject but the welfare of the beloved. There 
have been gods many and lords many, dreamt 
of, realised, enthroned ; men who made them- 
selves gods by heroism and climbing of Olym- 
pus ; but none before who showed himself God 
by coming down. Incarnations, avatars ; but no 
incarnation or avatar which was that of right- 
eousness and the sacrifice of self. Yet it is 
this incarnation which is winning the day; it 
is a dead man who wins the field, brought to 
life again, and enthroned in every human heart 
which apprehends Him, who here, and in Hea- 
ven also, has become the centre of adoration, 
and the burden of the triumphal song. To 
Him that was slain, and that washed us from 
our sins in His own blood, be ascribed all 
honour and glory, dominion and power ! Worthy 


is the Lamb ! Yea, at the name of Jesus every 
knee is bowing, or shall bow, in willing adoration. 
Christ shall be elected by universal suffrage as 
King over all, because of what He is. Elected 
King to the glory of the Father ! Glory to the 
Father because of what He must be to call forth 
such a sacrifice ; and to the Son, because of 
what He did ! The Father is glorified in the 
Son ; in that Son is the Father continually well , 
pleased; His going forth to the redemption of 
others in glorious sacrifice is well pleasing unto 
God. Such a Son is ever in the bosom of the 
Father, and ever there is ever revealing the 
thoughts of God to us. Such as the Father is, 
such is the Son ; their spirit one and indi- 
visible. Overcoming evil with good, He invites 
us to the same victory by the same path — a path 
which gives us rest at once, the moment we are 
on it ; a secret which they who find know how 
much it opens, a method by which (and by which 
alone) we climb to the stars. It may seem often 
a hard path, but it is not so in truth ; the peace 
of God is on and in it. It is always in our 
power. Taking the will of God as seen in Christ 


and felt within our hearts, wherever it may seem 
to lead us, in itself it gives and is victory and 
rest. It may take us to the fires of martyrdom, 
and to others we seem to perish, but we are at 
rest. We say it is not painful. Heaven and 
earth may come together, but we know that it 
is a revelation of the righteous judgment of 
God that not a hair of our heads shall perish. 
> Our rest is in the Lord, in what He is, in what 
He intends for us ; and the manner of the love 
which is in His thought for us is that we should 
be " sons." Can anything go higher than this ? 
Can any rest be more perfect than that which 
is based upon the fact of it ? Let us then ever be- 
lieve that in accordance with this fact our lives 
are now being led, our paths marked out, and that 
nothing can sever us from this, nothing interfere 
with it, but our own forgetfulness, or distrust, or 
violation of its conditions. Let us rejoice to 
think that God is ever with us, that we may and 
should confide, convey, entrust all our ways, and 
hopes, and desires to Him, believing that what 
we cannot He will, that what we do not He 
does, that space, distance, time, hinder not, and 


cannot hinder, His accomplishments. Let us 
confide and commit all our thoughts and desires 
to Him whose thoughts and desires have created 
and brought us to this place and time, and 
have given all the relationships and posses- 
sions we enjoy. Then shall we not fear, then 
shall we not despair. Even if all we love seems 
to have gone into the depths of the sea, let us 
put our thoughts beside His thoughts, and then 
we shall never be heartbroken. 

" I had a message to send her, 

To her whom my soul loved best : 
But I had my task to finish, 
And she had gone to rest. 11 

Rest in the Lord, and give others to Him in 
trust, and He will deliver our message, and see 
that our wishes are accomplished, yea, beyond 
our powers and thoughts. His originating 
thought gave birth to ourselves, and therefore 
to all that is in us of love and righteousness ; 
and His thoughts, for us and ours, are better 
and higher than our thoughts. Amen. 



" He must increase." — St. John iii. 30. 

LL Christian-minded men, we cannot but 

think, will have observed that at present 
the Christian world is passing through a great 
series of transformations. And although most 
men are disposed to regard their own times as 
exceptional, still I think that we must regard our 
own as really remarkable beyond the average. 

Every man, perhaps, as he goes through life, 
consciously or unconsciously himself passes 
through somewhat of the same transitions ; but 
even the same transitions are more observable 
when they take place without him, and on a 
large scale. The changes which are at work 
in our time, however, I believe are not merely 
changes of degree, but changes in kind which 


will radically affect the Christian world. I be- 
lieve that they are changes for the better. 

Christ is the Heir of all the ages ; but there 
is much of His inheritance which as yet He 
has not taken up — which is His in the sense of 
property, and His in the sense of production, 
but with which at present He would seem to 
have little or no connection. 

This arises from our past too limited appre- 
hension of Christ. Christ has been too imper- 
fectly apprehended even by the earliest ages; 
and indeed this was inevitable from its being 
needful to have the light of the future to reveal 
what He truly was in the past. The ages are 
unrolling themselves. Christ is the key-note and 
comptroller, but as yet He has not been suffi- 
ciently recognised as such. Yet all are on their 
way to this recognition ; and when that which is 
perfect is come, and the parts are made into a 
whole, we shall see that the body is of Christ, 
a body created by His Spirit. 

As yet Christ has been but partially under- 
stood. "The Heir of all the ages" has been kept 
under bondage, retained, as by the Church of 


Rome, in His mother's arms, and by too many 
among ourselves under the lock And key of 
" confession," a dead Christ who is risen and 
is not here. But He cannot be so confined ; 
the Word cannot be so bound; "He must 
increase ; " and He will increase. It is His 
increase at present which is shaking the 
Churches, and causing old things to pass away. 

Old creeds are questioned, discussed, dis- 
carded, because they give no sufficient answers 
to the questions of the day. Men embark upon 
an unknown sea ; and while we hear many cry, 
"Watchman, what of the night?" we hear few 
reply that " All is well." 

Yet, all is well. And they who know Christ, 
what He is and what Christ means, and know 
in consequence that He is, know that all is well. 
Anchored in this sure ground, they do not mind 
the swing of the vessel in the darkness, or that 
the well-known stars have changed their posi- 
tions, and that those which were before are now 
behind, and that those which were behind are 
now before them. But it is not so with all. It 
is not so with those who have but a traditional 


and external knowledge of Christ. Thinking 
that with the swinging of the vessel all is lost, all 
their Energies are directed to get her back to her 
old position, and the stars as they were before. 
And who shall blame them ? For those alone / 
are at peace who know that it is not the external 
signs which make the security, but the security 
which makes the signs, and that it is that 
which God is that is our safety. What He is 
they know both from Christ and from the nature 
of things, of which everywhere and always the 
key and seal and body to us now is Christ. 

Not seeing this, however, many are now 
wildly betaking themselves to declarations of 
majorities, to the creation of infallible mouth- 
pieces, to a tyrannical conservatism and blind 
fury, to secure the symbols and make sure of 
that of which otherwise they feel that they have 
no sure possession. But this is madness and 
folly, if not worse. If the thing itself be sought 
to which the signs point, it is well. That they 
point to good, that they indicate where truth 
lies, the truth we need, we do not doubt, so 
far as most of the old names and confessions 


are concerned; but by themselves they are 
nothing. And it would appear that much of the 
present breaking up is the work of the provi- 
dence of God to show and teach- us that it is so, 
that in themselves the signs, the mere words, 
are nothing; nothing but as they give and are 
found to give that which we need and they at 
first described. It may be that they were insuf- 
ficient for our present and future state ; and it 
is probable that additions will have to be made. 
The world has enlarged, the heavens expanded, 
and the apprehension of Christ must be enlarged 
to meet these also. He must increase. And 
thank God He is increasing. There is a grow- 
ing Christ, and a growing apprehension of Christ 
amongst us. 

But- as yet this is not clearly seen. His 
new aspects are not fully realised. That new 
thing which is amongst us is not yet realised 
as being Christ* Ere this be done it is pos- 
sible that we have to go back to very elemen- 
tary matters. The new aspects of nature are 
not explained by the past definitions of Christ 
by the Churches. And the attempts made by 


some, as lately by the Church of Rome, have 
made matters worse. Yet Christ is God, and the 
worlds are God's ; one and the same mind and 
plan pervade both. It is not as yet seen, 
however, so to be, and therefore a work and 
struggle is before us, a time of darkness and of 
battle, ere we can harmonize and explain the 
one by the other. It is the struggle in the 
dark of Jacob with the angel — the angel with- 
out the name ; the struggle which breaks the 
thigh ere the light comes and the morning 
dawns on the sons of God. As with Mary 
at the sepulchre, Christ will be taken for the 
gardener ; or, as with the apostles in the boat, 
for a spirit ; or, with the disciples on the way 
to Emmaus, for a traveller, ere He is truly 
known. He will not at once be known under 
unaccustomed forms. It will take time ere the 
true end comes, and Christ again be really 

Nay, already so far has been the relapse into 
darkness, that men go asking for God as if His 
existence were an open question. Christ is for- 
gotten, having not been truly realised. Creeds 


are questioned, and when they do not afford 
the answer wanted, men go forth to seek for 
the answer in the dark. They said before, " I 
believe in God." But now they ask, " What is 
God?" They go to find the answer where 
they can. The old Confessions and Church 
discourses, they say, are no answer to present 
needs. The best cry, u O that Thou wouldst 
rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come 
down!" It seems to be felt by all such that 
God mustdi? something to make Himself known. 
Let us look at this. What is possible in this 
respect ? The first thing men should make clear 
to themselves in such an inquiry as this is, 
What can God do to make Himself known ? 
What would make His being and nature plain ? 
What sort of proof is it men expect ? 

First of all, they must remember that God is a 
Spirit ; that if He be at all, He is of a spiritual 
nature ; and that it is, therefore, in this region 
that the proof of His being, and of what that 
is, must be sought. To be, He must be a 
Spirit ; He cannot have form, boundaries, por- 
tions, or sensible conditions. He cannot be 


seen or touched, He can only be spiritually made 
manifest, that is, made manifest to the spirit. 
A miracle, in the sense in which it used to be 
quoted, would neither give us God in the way 
now demanded, nor, indeed, in any true way, 
save in so far as its moral aspects were con- 
cerned ; nor is it the proof modern inquirers seek. 
When miracles were exhibited, as detailed in 
the Holy Scriptures, they did not apparently 
produce belief as a rule, nor impress those who 
saw them with the conviction that it was God 
men were beholding. And if not then, how 
much less now, when the powers and aspects of 
nature have been so developed amongst us, and 
when what are called spiritualistic manifestations 
— whether true or false it is all the same — have 
opened up conditions which, while beyond our 
explanation, even if taken for granted, give us 
no conviction of the presence or nature of God. 
Those who .wrought miracles in the apostolic 
times themselves did not rest on them as doing 
much or anything towards a revelation of God. 
Our blessed Lord Himself — and it is very re- 
markable — in the great and crowning miracle of 


the resurrection of Lazarus, sets aside any such 
value in them, when He says, as if in depreca- 
tion to the Father, " Because of the people 
which stood by I said it." What He and the 
apostles appeal to — and therefore the true proof 
and manifestation of God — is the evidence of 
design in the order of nature, the benevolence, 
harmony, and beauty of its operations. 

But it is this very order of nature which has 
become the stone of stumbling in our day. Its 
eternal order, we are told, leaves no room for God. 
Things follow by sequence, one thing leading to 
and producing another. Sequence, evolution, 
natural selection, do all without the intervention 
of any third party. Necessity requires and 
effects it. But necessity for what ? And what 
is necessity ? Do such things explain and ex- 
haust the whole question? Let us take an 
example. Suppose three eggs hatched before us 
by artificial incubation — those of a partridge, a 
lark, and a parrot. They are little lumps of yel- 
low and white albumen, differing apparently in 
nothing, save, it may be, in some faint matters 
of proportion, and this undiscernible either by 


analysis or the microscope. One breaks its 

shell, and runs off immediately to the stubble ; 

another, after an interval, rises singing into the 

clouds ; another, ere long, will stretch out a 

claw to you, know you, and all but speak. Is 

all explained or exhausted when we say they do 

what they do by tradition, inherited experience, 

selection? Is the different life laid up and 

existing in each different shell accounted for by 

these explanations ? We cannot think so ; for 

let us go a little farther. We get the body, no 

doubt, out of the shell ; but what then ? Is that 

all ? ~By no means. The body is endowed with, 

or gives forth, life. So far this is explicable; 

the life is (let us say) the product of the body. 

It is given out by it ; it is its child. But let us 

observe still farther. At first it is the child of 

and subject to the body, and is, no doubt, always 

in a certain sense dependent on it. But what 

then? By-and-by the life becomes the master 

and lord of the body. It turns round upon the 

body and makes it its servant. It uses it as an 

apparatus to perform its requirements ; it is no 

longer second, it is first. The object of the 


body, then, was this life. But, still farther, the 
life itself has an object, the happiness of this 
creature. The creature itself had its being for a 
purpose which evinces a source beyond itself; 
a source, too, which (from the object of the 
creature's existence being happiness) we find to 
be a moral and beneficent source, beyond and 
distinct from and anterior to the creature itself; 
and if g, moral, then a personal source — personal 
and one, for there can be but one such. Now if 
this be so, " the order of nature " is not only no 
hindrance or disproof, but the proof of and clue 
to the being and nature of God; the invisible 
being made known by the visible. 

We find, from the purpose of the being of the 
creature, a moral and personal origin, and one 
beyond itself; a good origin, to which we come, 
and of which we are convinced by its substance 
existing within ourselves. 

By the highest within ourselves we touch a Most 
High without, and are assured both of its being 
and nature — the power and nature, that is, of an 
" Eternal Godhead." But although this proof is 
strong within ourselves, and becomes more so 


the more it is dwelt upon, it is manifest that it 
cannot be made plain to those beyond ourselves, 
and that every one must see it with his own eyes 
— eyes, however, which every one has wherewith 
to see. But God is not seen by His doing some- 
thing ; for there is nothing that He can do, 
nothing which would not rather hinder than 
help any true apprehension of Him ; and no 
such mode of manifestation or proof is possible 
for a spiritual being. There is no other mode 
possible than that which is ever before us. It 
is no doubt a path which no fowl knoweth, 
and which the eaglef's eye hath not seen. But 
then for those who are more than they it is 
a sure highway, and one which, the farther 
trodden, leads onward to the greater fulness. 
It is the way of the Spirit, the path of purity 
and holiness, without which we cannot, but by 
which we do, see the Lord; an open secret to 
those who find it, yet not transferable when 

But we speak of the Godhead as manifest in 
Christ. What do we mean by this ? We mean 
that the life of Christ shows what the Godhead 


is. We come to Christ by the best things within 
ourselves, by that which is within recognising 
that which is without, and setting to its seal 
that this is God. Christ comes to us, and says, 
"I am He whom ye seek;" and the heart 
responds, " My Lord and my God." 

"As yet we see not all things put under 
Him;" and the stray atoms at present seem 
whirling hither and thither without centre or 
attraction ; but by-and-by they will settle into 
their place. It will be seen that, as that which 
is highest in us has a most high without, so that 
Most High is found in Christ, whom, if He be 
not by any other token seen to be God, or one 
with God, men will find to be God by the 
might of what He is, a might which we recog- 
nise as right. Christ will be recognised as 
the farther indication of that which nature is, 
and it will be seen that all the scattered roads 
and rays come from and lead to one place. 
Christ reveals the Godhead, and gives us to know 
that its essence is paternal and righteous love. 
By Him men come to God, and find Him Father. 
By Him they get the spirit of sons, and with the 


spirit of sons a Father's house in ever active 
felicity and peace — the peace of God which 
comes from being ever in fellowship with Him, 
receiving the things which they know not and 
stand in awe of with reverent faith and the 
patience of hope, and that which is known and 
desirable with joy and thankfulness. Beautiful 
as the world is, they find it doubly beautiful if 
from a Father's hand ; so far as it is dark and 
mysterious, they wait in confidence for the ex- 
planation. Knowing the love of Christ, and the 
love which gave Christ, they know that nothing 
can come between them and such love ; knowing 
the love of Christ by its birth within themselves, 
they overcome by its own growth within them. 
Believing in the eternal love, and in " the pri- 
meval sympathy whtch y having been, must ever bey' 
they are saved by the belief in it. This belief now 
increases. This consciousness of the nature of 
God, this apprehension of the meaning of Reve- 
lation and of the being of Christ, increases in 
the world. There is a growing sense and recog- 
nition of the unity of nature and of Christ ; of 
Christ rightly understood; that He is the key 


to nature and pledge of its excellence, and the 
pledge and prophecy of final good. Seen in the 
light of Christ, men do not now look on the Jura 
Mountains merely as eight thousand feet of lime- 
stone, the shells of creatures which have passed 
away, but as pledges and proofs of a countless 
duration of past joy and happiness, of joy and 
happiness ever giving birth to higher and higher 
species of life and light. In this view, with this 
sign, they conquer — the sign and vision of the 
Godhead in Christ — an increasing vision and a 
sign ever growing more powerful, as it is coming 
to be understood. It is a sign which, with the 
inner experience that " whosoever shall seek to 
save his life shall lose it, and whosoever lose 
his life shall preserve it," is a perpetual and 
growing proof, not only that God is, but that 
marvellously and indescribably excellent, be- 
yond what the eye can see or the ear hear, is 
the nature of the eternal Godhead — eternal by 
what it is, and, by what it is, God over all, 
blessed for ever. Amen. 


fi God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." — i John i. 5. 

'T'^HE Apostle tells us that God is light, 
something, that is, which is manifest, and 
makes manifest. And we are in an age of 
light — of greater light than ever was before ; 
the world is flooded with it. Man's intellect 
has called forth from the material world forms 
and forces unknown to our fathers and new to 
us, clothing the world with fresh and mar- 
vellous riches. The progress of our age in 
physical discovery is astonishing. The "won- 
drous wand" of science has raised man 
beyond all comparison with "the beasts that 
perish." We are in an outburst of terrestrial 
riches which it is hard to catalogue — riches 
which are but the parent, probably, of a pro- 
geny more vast and varied still to come. 


Has the spiritual kept pace with the mate- 
rial increase ? We believe it has. Every ad- 
dition to the development of nature, every rise 
in physical discovery, has been an increase of 
light and diminution of darkness. 

c But,' it will be asked, ' is this the light alluded 
to in our text, the light of God?' It is, and 
it is not. The light of God is in nature, but 
nature is not God; God may be seen there, 
yet that which we see is not God. " The 
heavens declare the glory of God, and the fir- 
mament showeth His handiwork;" "the in- 
visible things of God are clearly seen by the 
things which are made ; " but the things which 
are made are not their maker, and nature is not 
God. Indeed, so little is this the case that, 
looking on nature alone, the existence of God 
has been disputed, and His personality denied. 
Nor will the aid of science produce Him to our 
gaze. Yet God is there, and may be seen; 
and the glory of His personal light appears 
if it be properly looked for, and nature be 
rightly dealt with. But to this end God must 
be looked for where He is to be found, and with 


an instrument fitted for the search. God is a 
Spirit ; He must be sought for in the spirit, 
and seen by the spirit. Man has this instru- 
ment; he has this organ whereby he can dis- 
cover God; he has the spiritual nature of 
which God is, and by which he can discover 
Him. He has this in virtue of being akin to 
God, of being formed in God's image ; he has 
it not by his own exertions, or by the exertions 
of others ; he has it as part of his inheritance 
as " God's offspring." He has "eyes and ears" 
whereby to see and to hear the light and voice 
of God. It is a gift co-extensive with hu- 
manity; all men have it. There is neither 
speech nor language where its voice is not 
heard ; its sound is gone out into all the earth, 
and its words to the ends of the world. 
Created in the image of God, for the purpose 
of having direct personal intercourse with God, 
man necessarily has faculties suited for this 
intercourse, and the object of these faculties 
must ever be within his reach. It is true that 
a man may not use these faculties, may even 
live in ignorance of them, and so occupy him- 


self with other things as to shut, as it were, 
these faculties out, and live unconscious of them 
until his dying day. But they are there, and 
sufficient for the purpose for which they were 
given ; and he is miserable and culpable, or, as 
St. Paul says, " without excuse," if he does not 
use them. 

But, beyond this, man sees the light of God 
in the face of Jesus Christ ; that is, there has 
been a special revelation of God. Men's eyes 
saw, their hands handled, and their ears heard 
the light and voice of God; "the Word was 
made flesh, and dwelt among us ; " and this life 
was the light of men. Christ came to make up 
that which was deficient in nature, to supply 
"that which by nature we cannot have," to 
lighten that which was dark. He is the com- 
plement of nature, and the supply of that which 
is wanting in it to every man, 

But although infinitely higher, and intended 
for all, Christ's light is more limited than that 
of nature by the conditions of His coming. 
The light was confined to the personality of 
Christ, and to the cognizance of those who 


saw and heard Him, or to that of such as hear 
of Him through their word; and these are 
fallible. Mercifully a Record has been given, 
dictated at the time by the Spirit in which He 
came, which conveys to us all that He did and 
said. But this is not always in its integrity 
before us. Its interpreters have often put their 
own meaning upon it, and not its meaning, and 
have reduced its dimensions to their own cir- 
cumference; and this on things of the first 
importance, such as relate, for example, to the 
character of God. And beyond this, moved by 
the very sense of its importance, its guardians 
too often have so wrapped it up, for preserva- 
tion, that its light has not been seen ; or, again, 
have made its authenticity dependent on their 
authority, until indeed their instrumentality has 
been taken for that which it was intended but 
to convey. 

Now let us look at the working of this. 

Christ's disciples were to tell the world that 
all God's offspring were alike precious to the 
Father; they were to commission those who 
received this message to bring others to the 


same belief, that by this all men might be 
saved. For men can only be saved by believing 
this. But instead of this many declared that 
those only were precious to the Father who 
adopted the Father; leaving it to be supposed 
that they changed God by their belief, instead 
of recognising that they were changed them- 
selves by believing in His unchangeableness ; 
in His being good, and unchangeable in His 
goodness ; light, and having no darkness at all. 
For the world is made into the Church by men 
believing in the initiatory love of God ; and 
they only are the Church who believe this. 
Sent to baptize men into the name of the Father 
because they were His sons, and into that Holy 
Spirit in which all are one, they baptized men 
into communities on terms of their own making, 
terms which were limitations of the Godhead, 
and which, in limiting God, divided men from 
one another, until the leaven which was to 
leaven the world and to make all men one, 
by abolishing the worldly distinctions of Jew 
and Greek, barbarian, Scythian, bond, and free, 
nay (so high was it to reach in spiritual things) 


even of male and female, became an additional 
divider of men, adding to instead of healing the 
divisions of humanity, so that we not only have 
worldly and natural distinctions, but religious 
also, Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian, Inde- 
pendent, Baptist, Presbyterian, and many 
others. Nay, not only so, but it has come to 
pass that, instead of being as it was intended, 
and ought to be, a blessing to the nations and 
a help to all good government, and as it was 
when first kings became its nursing fathers, 
and queens its nursing mothers, from the help 
it gave to all good works and to national 
improvement, the Church became, in many 
nations, a hindrance instead of help ; yea, so 
great a hindrance as to oblige some nations 
to spue her out of their mouths, and almost all 
to limit and to be on their guard against her, so 
great were the difficulties which she occasioned 
in many lands. All history is full of this, 
Alas ! so greatly has the Church too often frus- 
trated her Divine mission, as to increase the 
disease which she came to heal — the alienation, 
namely, of mankind from God, and from one 


another. Is it not true even now that while 
we so-called Christians can meet to eat and to 
drink together, to legislate, to trade, for chari- 
ties, for amusements, and for sports, we cannot 
unite for purposes of religion? that the only- 
thing which we cannot do in common is to 
meet in one place to worship a common God 
and Saviour ? Alas ! while the light of nature 
and the still small voice remain, and strong as 
ever, the light of the Church is glimmering, 
and her voice is of stammering speech. May 
we not say as of old, " O my mountain in the 
field; thou who wast to be the healer of the 
nations, thyself needest healing; how solitary 
thou sittest who wert full of people, thou who 
wert to be the shepherdess of the nations : tell 
me, O thou whom my soul loveth, whither art 
thou gone ? where feedest thou that flock which 
thou hadst to pasture by still waters, and to 
rest in the shadow of a rock from the heats of 
noon?" It is asked on all hands, "When the 
Son of Man cometh, will He find faith on the 
earth?" And where is the Church? Was it 
for this that He became incarnate-r-became the 


Son of Man — not of one man or tribe — but of 
man ? Was it for this that all generations were 
to call his virgin mother blessed ? Assuredly 
not. What, then, is its meaning ? What is the 
cause of this decadence ? Have the gates of 
hell prevailed ? Surely there is something 
wrong, terribly and radically wrong, in our 
conceptions of the Church when thus it is — 
when the whole head is sick, the whole heart 
faint, and all complain of a disease common to 
all. But what is the disease ? It is simple, 
it is deep seated, but not far to seek; yet we 
cannot get rid of it unless we retrace our steps 
to the beginning, unless we receive the king- 
dom of heaven again from above as little 
children. For the cause, although deep, is 
patent. The cause of the decadence of the 
Church is simply this, that she has too often 
set up her own kingdom instead of that of the 
Father. She has tried to establish that which 
cannot be established, and never ought to have 
been attempted to be established — another 
kingdom than that of the Father. She has 
tried to limit God, and to set up a kingdom on 


these limitations, on denominations, that is, 
distinctions, definitions, instead of on that 
which is one and alone the kingdom of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost. She has baptized into her own name; 
and the names of particular churches have swal- 
lowed up the one Church, which is the kingdom 
of the Father. 

And the faith of such churches fails, and faith 
in such churches. They are not of that light 
wherein there is no darkness at all; and when 
the Son of man cometh to such He comes as a 
man of sorrows, to remove their candlesticks 
out of their place. Many such have been re- 
moved, many branches of the seven-branched 
candlestick. And so faith fails throughout 
Christendom, and so now faith fails in many of 
its high places ; grey hairs are on them, and 
they know it not. We are told that there is 
much infidelity ; and no doubt there is. 

There are two kinds of infidelity at present 
among us : that which sees not, and says it does 
not see ; and that which sees not, but says it 
does. Of the first we have many pathetic speci- 


mens in those men of science, men of thought, 
and men of suffering, who cry, "0 that thou 
wouldst rend the heavens and come down ! " to 
whom the greatest boon would be to show them 
God — men who Tseek but cannot find, yet who, 
we believe, would find if they sought aright. 
And then there are those who say they see, but 
do not. These last are often keepers of revela- 
tion, and are they who refer us to general coun- 
cils, clerical majorities, and an artificially created 
infallibility ; men who think they see " the end of 
all perfection " when any flaw seems discovered 
in the mode whereby revelation has been trans- 
mitted. Alas ! if we are to be dependent on 
some future general council to give us God, and 
are to believe in the meantime as it were pro- 
visionally, where would we be? and where the 
faith of the young and poor, the old and weak, 
those multitudes for whom Christ died, and on 
whom He had compassion ? Do we not hear 
Him say of such, " I thank Thee, O Father, 
Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid 
these things from the wise and prudent, and 
revealed them untp babes ? " Nay, may we not 


be sure that so it will ever seem good in His 
sight ? Alas ! that any who are light-bearers 
should so err, and send us far off to seek 
for an unknown God! Yet I blame not the 
clergy ; they are the salt of the earth, the first 
who came out from their brethren to seek the 
Lord. That first love is not forgotten. Light 
so far was theirs, and will be theirs again, if 
they will seek the light, and not become " rulers 
of the darkness " instead of being lights unto 
the world ! Still they are the salt of the earth. 
I praise the clergy. Yet surely these at least, 
yea, all of these, should know where to find the 
Lord, and not have to send us far off to councils, 
or require to construct infallible popes. If the 
men of science, unlike the poor Indian, cannot 
see God in clouds or hear Him in the wind, and 
see no purpose in anything (although purpose, 
indeed, is the only thing which we clearly do see 
in nature *), yet those should be at no loss for 
God into whose hands the Scriptures have come, 
and who have been put in charge of Revelation. 
Do they not read even before Christ came, 

* Duke of Argyll's " Reign of Law." 


" Lord, how I love thy law ; it is my meditation 
all the day ; " " Thy hands have made me and 
fashioned me: give me understanding, that I 
may learn Thy commandments ; " teaching where 
to find God, and a personal God. And is not this 
the message which they have as apostles of Christ 
— u That which we have seen and heard declare 
we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship 
with us ; and truly our fellowship is with the 
Father and with His Son Jesus Christ " ? And 
again, " I have not written unto you because ye 
know not the truth, but because ye know it." 
Yes, surely those who have "fellowship with 
the Father " know that they have it, and know 
what it is. But, writes St. John, "if we say 
that we have fellowship with Him, and walk 
in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." 
Does not then he u walk in darkness " who sends 
us to future meetings, or who requires an in- 
fallible man, or supposes that God is lost, when 
a link or a page in the conveyance of reve- 
lation fails ? Has he " fellowship with the 
Father" who teaches that the reception of a 
substance, acting irrespectively of knowledge, 



is fellowship with the Father ? Surely there is 
great darkness here, and not light! Alas, a 
false humility and a low ideal of revelation are 
going far to shut out God. And, alas, as of old, 
so now we see masters in Israel accepting dark- 
ness for light ! Yet, no doubt, Christ gave us 
revelation that we might comprehend it; and 
because fellowship with the Father was needful 
for us, and because fellowship could only come 
by knowledge. Surely so it was in the begin- 
ning. So must it be again ; and so it will be. 
The signs of it appear. We believe that the 
night is "far spent" and that the light is 

The Church must again be that which she was 
in the beginning. She has fallen long, and in 
many countries, by altering the terms of her 
commission ; by setting up her own kingdom 
instead of God's ; by teaching that she is the 
way to God, instead of God the way to her ; by 
beginning, not in the spirit, but in the letter; 
by saying that it is our doing something which 
makes a change in God, instead of His being un- 
changeable which is to make" a change in us. 



The Church must again proclaim the everlasting 
Fatherhood of God. 

This is that kingdom of the Father which it 
is the Church's business to bring in, and before 
which all other kingdoms are to fade away. 
One great counterfeit kingdom has usurped its 
place too long, but it is now in its death-pangs ; 
and although means are being taken to regene- 
rate it, it lives but by force of art : indeed the 
means taken to regenerate will in all proba- 
bility destroy it. 

The kingdom of the Father is advancing ; 
other kingdoms cannot be established — nay, 
they disestablish themselves. Creeds and con- 
fessions, temporalities and privileges, which 
hinder the true kingdom, wither away. A Holy 
Father made of men, artificial brotherhoods and 


sisterhoods, must yield to the one fatherhood, 
sisterhood, and brotherhood, which men find in 
God, and in one another. The Church falls 
when she ceases to see this, and sets up a king- 
dom which is not this. But the true kingdom is 
coming, and she will return to her first love. 
It is the return to this, and the increasing pre- 

^Vl_ -y > ~ ii m \ — m ii 7- i r iwi i "i — —*■*■**■■.. «...— .*■'■»«. <*-«■*■ 


sence of this light, which made us say that the 
spiritual keeps pace with the material light in 
the present rapid progress of the world. The 
meaning of the words, "God is light, and in 
Him is no darkness at all," we believe is being 
better understood; and this is the kingdom of 
the Father. There is assuredly now more 
spiritual light. We have no new revelation; 
but there is an increasing radiance thrown upon 
the old. Ancient symbols and technical lan- 
guage, wherever true, are regaining their signi- 
fication. Christianity is on the increase. The 
term "Catholic," so often put for "Christian," 
hinders no doubt many nations, and, where s<s 
substituted, tends to make Christianity a thing 
of the past, a religion at an end ; but when 
"Christian" is substituted for "Catholic," the 
difficulty disappears, and Christianity is seen to 
be something which does not pass away. Christ 
is " the heir of all the ages," of the future as of 
the past. When truly realised, He brings us into 
the presence of the living God ; and this we find 
just as we realise that which He truly is. Open- 
ing Heaven, He reveals that which is therein* 


and shows that it .is the bosom of a Father, that 
it has been and must be so always. By giving 
us His Spirit, He enables us to find not only 
that God is, but that which He is, so that " He 
that acknowledged the Son hath the Father 
also," knows, that is, that which God is, and that 
He is a Father. Christ reveals that God is not a 
Fate, but a Father, one who desires not merely our 
acceptance of a will, but our recognition that the 
will is good — good even when leading by the 

way of sorrow and suffering and death. This 


revelation of the Father by the Son is that merit 
of Christ by which we are brought to the know- 
ledge of God and saved thereby ; for just as we 
are saved in the spirit of a son we realise the 
Father. We are saved by walking in Christ's 
steps. And thus Christ not only reveals God and 
shows -us that which He is, but He reveals us to 
ourselves also, and shows us that which we are and 
may be. • He reveals to us not a God apart from 
us, but one with us, so that " He that sanctifieth 
and they who are sanctified are all of one," — 
and we are sons in the sense of " offspring," 
standing to God in a true relationship, able 


to have " fellowship " with the Father, to rise 
thereby from temporal to eternal levels, and to 
know that which God is, by a realisation of His 
nature in ourselves. In doing this, Christ does 
not relegate us to a God or a Heaven far off, but 
to one which is nigh. He enables us at once to 
know God, and to enter into His Heaven. He 
gives us a kingdom which is immediate, which 
we feel to be unmistakably our own, of which 
we ourselves are kings, as, losing ourselves in 
Christ, we inherit that kingdom of which the 
treasure is the character of God in Jesus. Find- 
ing God in this, we find our brethren also ; for 
that which is in God for us, is only ours because 
it is in Him for others; -that which is in God 
is common to all, and certain because it is so ; 
this it is which makes Him what He is — God, 
because He is thus perfect. 

His kingdom is coming, and must come ; and 
now it triumphs just as we realise that we are 
the children of a heavenly Father, and become 
like Him, who is what He is because He is kind 
and just to all. Eventually there will be no 
kingdom but this ; no Church and world ; but, 


all Church and no world ; and only that Church 
which is the kingdom of the Father. Soon all 
kingdoms which have usurped its place, and 
all Churches which have driven a wicked trade 
by making a property of God, will be destroyed, 
and this kingdom come without spot or wrinkle, 
or any such thing, based upon God as light, " in 
whom is no darkness at all ; " an inarticulate 
cry for which we hear from all quarters of the 

And the progress of this kingdom is now 
greater than many believe. Its essence is 
already realised in many places, and its " songs 
without words " are heard, of which it may be 
the singers themselves are scarce conscious of 
^the meaning. But they are the first-fruits of 
the kingdom, and its songs nevertheless. And 
its songs are these. 

The still small voice within is recognised as 
the same as that of Christ without ; men are 

* It is remarkable to see in such high places of the world as the 
Times, Pall Mall Gazette, Spectator, and other newspapers, the 
leading articles which we have lately seen, and which are nothing 
less than a crying and . hungering for God — children asking for 
bread. May we not give them stones ! 


opening to Him that knocks, recognising who 
it is* The kingdom cometh not as an external 
kingdom, but its coming can be known. It is a 
kingdom of truth, and its signs are sure ; for 
these are present wherever there is a desire for 
reality and the meaning of things. And these 
are now on the increase. Religion is becoming 
identified with morality, and morality is believed 
to be the same in Heaven and earth. Revelation 
is found not to be the violation but the establish- 
ment of morality. The mediaeval and reforma- 
tional interpretations of Revelation are being 
superseded by the primary. God is being 
recognised as one whose "tender mercies are 
over all His works," who loves, not because of 
the creature's desert, but because of. its needs, t 
with a love not merely amiable, but righteous, 
giving to every one according to his works, and 
educating as often by punishment as by pardon, 
"judging that He may teach, not teaching that 
He may judge ; " that so man may be saved. 
God is beginning to be sought for, for that which 
He is ; and good is sought for the same reason, 
and not " for a purpose." In the initiatory love 


of God men are finding themselves at rest ; they 
find themselves able to receive all subsequent out- 
comings in the light of that original ; and they 
know that this is Love ; that God did not require 
us, or was obliged to make us, that He chose to 
have us; and this because He is Love. And 
such Love ! " Behold what manner of love the 
Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be 
called the sons of God." Seeing this, we find 
that we are to have no other joy, no other peace, 
but the joy and peace of the Lord Himself — that 
nothing short of " fellowship with the Father " is 
intended for us ; and we lift up our heads. And 
this is its duration : " Because I live, ye shall 
live also ; " the words of God in Christ — words 
which we should use to those we love ; but what 
a promise and prospect when we know that they 
are a Divine and therefore eternal utterance ! 
Having this hope and peace, men cease from sin ; 
they cannot sin when they are so born of God. 
Can any sin when he knows that he has so high 
an inheritance, so near a relation to the Most 
High ? Can such an one live in sin ? in sin, 
which severs from the Divine connection; in 




sin, which is contrary to and grieves the Father ; 
in sin, from which the Son died to deliver us ? 
No one sins as he realises these things. As we 
realise them we cease from sin. Nay, indeed, a 
man ceases from sin only as he knows and re- 
members that he is born of God. There is no 
other victory over sin. But by this faith — the 
faith, that is, which realises that we are children 
dear and precious unto God — we can do all 
things. As we realise this sonship, sin vanishes, 
and death disappears — for these are the wages 
of sin. The kingdom of the Father is a sinless 
kingdom, as it is set up sin disappears, and it 
is set up just as we believe in the Father ; as 
we believe or cease to believe that God is our 
Father, our holy and loving Parent, we are at 
peace and in purity, or the reverse. When this 
is believed, Te Deums are sung; not only in 
cathedrals, but on highways and by hedges ; 
when this is believed, not one day in seven, but 
an eternal sabbath reigns. That we do not see 
this is our great misdemeanour. That we do 
not see and receive our common Father is the 
one great error of man. It was the unceasing 


theme of our Lord's astonishment. "Ye can 
discern the signs of the times," ye can " behold 
the lily," ye can recognise " the feeding of the 
ravens," yet not see the heavenly Father, not 
know the eternal Providence, not hear the ever- 
lasting chime, was His constant wonder and 
sorrow. " He marvelled " (we read) " at their 
unbelief!" "Ye have eyes, and see not; ears, 
and hear not," He ever said. It was their 
misfortune ; but it was also their fault. It is sin 
not to do this. It is salvation to do it. For our 
only salvation is to see and to hear God's voice, 
and to recognise it as that of a Father. To do 
this will not indeed alter the circumstances of 
life, but it will sanctify and glorify them to us. 
It will raise us up when we fall, to remember 
that we are God's children — that although God 
hates sin, He does not hate us. As we realise 
that God has and can have but one object 
towards us, even our good ; as we realise that as 
He made us from no obligation, and no need of 
our service, but from love, our well-being must 
be precious to Him ; as we recognise that He 
has but one end in view, our perfection, and 


that He is achieving this by every method which 
infinite love and wisdom put in His power ; we 
are at peace. We find that we are in the hands 
of a Good Shepherd, a Good Physician, a Good 
Teacher, who is educating us for a blessed 
eternity with Himself; that God is giving us a 
fitness for His own presence ; making us par- 
takers of His holiness, that we may be also par- 
takers of His blessedness. We find that as we 
resist we but delay our own happiness. 

His kingdom is the only true good ; yet, alas, 
we would ever delay it by seeking our own 
things. Mercifully God's grace triumphs, and 
the true kingdom hastens on. God the Father 
is ever behind all things, and pressing the king- 
dom on. We have preludes ever and anon of 
its advent ; the notes of its harmonies are now 
heard more near; the splendour of the day, the 
true " Conquering Hero," let us believe, is at 
hand ; ere long the clouds will roll away, the 
groans of travailing nature cease, and nature 
rejoice throughout as the new man is born into 
the world, and the Son who was in the bosom of 
the Father from eternity is complete in the 


gathering in of all creation to Himself, the 
kingdom which cannot be destroyed, whose 
foundations are in the nature of God. It is a 
kingdom of which the triumph comes not by 
force, not by its King putting His feet upon the 
necks of His enemies, but by their laying them 
willingly beneath His feet; a kingdom whose 
establishment is not by obligation or necessity, 
but by the will and choice of those who are 
within it. It is God's kingdom, and this is the 
way He triumphs. God, elected by the universal 
suffrage of creation, is to be hailed as King, and 
crowned Lord of all ; He will not have His king- 
dom in any other way, because in no other way 
would He be truly King. But thus will He be 
truly King, and for this kingdom He waits. 
For this God waits, and will wait. He waits 
for His kingdom, the kingdom which comes by 
the choice of creation, not by orders from above. 
For this He waits. He waits for the kingdom 
into which we have been baptized, the kingdom 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost. Alas, how long time it takes to come 
and to be established ! How long do we delay it 


by our wickedness and sins ! He does not delay- 
it — He cannot deny Himself— it is we who delay 
it ; and what does our delay gain but the reap- 
ing of the fruits of sin — suffering, that is, and 
sorrow ? Behold ! He stands at the door and 
knocks, waiting for His kingdom — standing, how 
long, and waiting ! And He will wait until it 
comes — until, that is, He is known and taken 
in. Alas, how long are we deaf and do not 
hear, blind and do not see, and so let our true 
good stand without! How long do we fight 
against the true God and eternal life ! 

But let me conclude. God, seen as our 
Father, makes all things sweet — all paths 
straight — reconciles all things. His Father- 
hood, once truly accepted, solves all per- 
plexities, and makes the difficulties of life clear 
and plain. He is our Father, and whatever is 
meant by that name that is He, and always so. 
As He was this in the beginning, He is now, 
and ever shall be. Life, death, make no altera- 
tion in this relationship. In life, after death, 
He is equally the same, and Father. Beyond 
the shores of death we do not go into a strange 


country ; it is still our Father's house, where the 
Father is dealing with His children as they 
require. No time, no space can destroy His 
eternal, uniform, and paternal relation. It is 
life, health, victory, to believe this ; just as we 
believe this do we have victory and life ; as we 
fall out of its belief, we perish. Most true is the 
dogma — and let us by all means cherish dogma, 
but in order to its end — that unless we believe 
God to be our Father we " perish everlastingly." 
It is the Catholic faith to believe it, that believ- 
ing it we may be saved. There is no other 
salvation but by believing this ; but this is sure, 
God is our Father, and ever acts as such. It is 
good to hear this from the pulpit ; it is good to 
hear it from the press ; but, above all, it is good 
to hear it from our own hearts, and to know 
that it is true. No doubt, to see the Father 
" sufficeth us." Amen. 


" Search me, O God, and know my heart : try me, and know 
my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me." — 
Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24. 

T T 7TTH what shall we begin the coming 
year which now rises upon us as the day 
rises ? — a day of many sleepings and awaken- 
ings, yet but one day. Its morning, as that of 
other days, opening with a pale brightness ; the 
feeble sounds of new life, the expiring embers of 
old ; the noises of early dawn, the first stir of 
bird and beast ; the single voices, the solitary 
wheels, the matin bells. Is the day to be bright 
or dark ? Shall we have rain or sunshine ? Who 
knows ? Last night it was red and windy ; this 
morning it is grey. That is all we know. What 
is before us in the coming year, before ourselves 
and those we love, we know not. The veiled 


figure of the Future stands before us, and we 
cannot lift the veil. Who would dare to do 
so ? For what may it not conceal ? Is the 
winding-sheet under it, high on our own 
bosoms ? We do not know, and venture not to 
inquire. Who would like to see the names 
written on the tombstones of the future year, or 
roll away the stone from its sepulchres ? Sure 
we are that, ere it ends, some accustomed chair 
will be empty, some well-known voice be still — 

" There is no flock, however watched and tended, 
But one dead lamb is there ; 
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended, 
But has one vacant chair." 

Some new voices, some new faces, no doubt, will 
have arisen and be heard and seen among us ; 
but of the old and familiar, no doubt also, some 
will be u wede away." How are we to face the 
next twelve months knowing these things ? Like 
Jacob, we struggle with the dark angel, but it 
will not tell us its name, nor what is behind its 
veil, neither will it let us go. How are we to 
encounter it ? There is, indeed, but one way in 
which we can do so with confidence, and it is 



" to put our trust in God," to know in whom we 
trust, and to have reason for believing that in 
Him we can trust. " Truly our hope is even in 
Thee:" "In thee, O Lord, have I trusted;" 
si Thou art my strong refuge." These have ever 
been the words and ground of trust of those who 
have gone before us and overcome. But did they 
know in whom they trusted, and had they 
sufficient grounds? No doubt they had. But 
do we feel ourselves secure ? All things are not 
equally good, and can we blind ourselves to the 
fact that it is the same God who sends the 
widow's cap and the bridal wreath, and fills the 
sepulchres or leaves them empty? Have we 
any charm to persuade Him, then, to give 
us the one, and not the other ? to save us from 
the one, and bestow the other ? And is not God 
the same Providence who, for ages and ages, 
has been filling this fair earth with millions of 
millions of living beings, all of whom lived but 
to be destroyed, and are now dead ? We are 
tempted to cry, as we look at it, " How dreadful 
is this place ! " The more we look at Providence, 
and the closer we struggle with Him, the greater 


grows the darkness, and the mysteiy, and the 
fear, and the less and less do we seem to know 
of His name or to have ground for hope in it. Far 
off the solemn stars shine over us, and the night 
winds sigh around ; but do they shine or sigh 
for us ? Are they, and is God, concerned at all 
for us ? " Tell me Thy name, and tell it now," 
as Charles Wesley puts it in Jacob's mouth 
when he wrestles with the angel of Providence. 

" Wilt Thou not yet to me reveal 
Thy new unutterable Name ? 
Tell me, I still beseech Thee, tell, 
To know it now resolved I am : 
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go 
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know." 

Certainly, until we get the name or nature 
indicated by the name of God, and find it good 
and sufficient, we have no hope that is sufficient. 
What is it to us that Providence is awful and 
mighty if its power is indifferent or adverse ? 
Something more than merely God or Provi- 
dence, then, and " one event happening alike to 
all," must be ours, if our "hope" would mean 
anything beyond the mirage of fancy. Have we 


then any stich ground, any such knowledge of 
God's name, or of the rule of His Providence, as 
is sufficient to enable us to face the future with 
confidence ? It is a trite answer to the Christian, 
and an insufficient one to the unbeliever, to say 
that we have that in Christ. Nevertheless, it is 
our answer, and it is sufficient, and more than 
sufficient. It is our answer, and it is enough if 
we read it aright. How shall we so read it as to 
find it enough ? Let us read it in its plain sense 
— in a sense such as that which it evidently has, 
and is meant to set forth, in the contemplation 
of such questions as we have been asking — and 
we shall find it enough. Let us take its meaning 
in such a place as the fifth chapter of the Apoca- 
lypse of St. John, and we. shall find, I think, 
all we need. I shall quote the passage at 
length : — " And I saw in the right hand of Him 
that sat on the throne a book written within and 
on the back side, sealed with seven seals. And 
I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud 
voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to 
loose the seals thereof? And no man in 
heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, 


was able to open the book, neither to look 
thereon. And I wept much, because no man 
was found worthy to open and to read the book, 
neither to look thereon. And one of the elders 
saith unto me, Weep not : behold, the Lion o 
the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath pre- 
vailed to open the book, and to loose the seven 
seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the 
midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and 
in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it 
had been slain, having seven horns and seven 
eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent 
forth into all the earth. And He came and took 
the book out of the right hand of Him that sat 
upon the throne. And when He had taken the 
book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders 
fell down before the Lamb, having every one of 
them harps, and golden vials full of odours, 
which are the prayers of saints. And they 
sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to 
take the book, and to open the seals thereof: 
for thou wast slain, and has redeemed us to God 
by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, 
and people, and nation." The scene (if we may 


venture so to say) opens with the vision of the 
throne of God, surrounded with clouds and dark- 
ness — these last, no doubt, telling forth the 
mystery of God's Providence; a book is seen, 
the book of fate of the future of man and crea- 
tion ; but it is sealed (" the times and seasons 
the Father hath kept in his own power "), and 
St. John says "he wept much" because it was 
so, — that is, because the future was dark and 
unknowft to him ; and no man, he says, was able 
to open it or look thereon. He is told, however, 
not to weep, that an answer will be given him, 
which will be enough. " And I beheld," he says 
(v. 6.), "and, lo, in the midst of the throne .... 
stood a Lamb as it had been slain .... And 
He came and took the book out of the right 

hand of Him that sat upon the throne 

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art 
worthy to take the book, and to open the seals 
thereof." And " every creature which is in hea- 
ven, and on the earth, and under the earth," 
rejoiced, and was satisfied thereby. The mean- 
ing is plain. God does not show the facts 
written in the book, or disclose the future 


beforehand, to any one ; but He gives us a key- 
to the character of His government, and bids us 
find a solution in that He implies that all the 
facts in His government, or in the books, are in 
consonance with that key or character ; and the 
key is " the Lamb as it had been slain " — a slain 
lamb, either sitting on the throne, or at the right 
hand of the throne, or (as it is often represented 
in old mosaics in Sicily) resting on the book of 
Fate, or the future, which is still closed, while 
the seven seals remain unopened. The mean- 
ing of this is plain. It is that Christ is a 
revelation of the character, and a key to the 
providence of God ; that He is an example to 
us how we are to act, and how in acting we are 
to have the victory. God does not in Christ 
exempt us from any of the evil circumstances 
of life. He does not alter them for us ; but He 
teaches us, and enables us by His example, to 
meet and overcome them. He shows us His 
well-beloved Son, in whom He is continually 
well pleased, not exempted from evil— on the 
contrary, subjected to it, and to its effects, in a 
manner infinitely greater than any in which we 


shall be called upon to bear it — and He shows 
us by the method He overcame how we are to 
overcome. He identifies Christ with Himself 
and his providence, and He says, " Look unto 
me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." 
He says that the " law of Christ," which was to 
" bear one another's burdens," and to " overcome 
evil with good," is the law of the universe, the 
law of God Himself, the law of the Spirit of God, 
that the laws of God are only revelations of that 
which He is Himself, and that as He is so are 
we to be ; that there is no other way of over- 
coming evil ; but that thus it is overcome, and 
with a final and entire defeat. He reassures 
creation by a revelation of that which He is 
Himself; and that He is this, He assures and 
gauges the extent to us by His incarnation and 
death in Christ. And this does reassure crea- 
tion, and enables man to meet the future, what- 
ever it be, just in proportion as he sees and 
receives this revelation, and enters into or 
imbibes its spirit ; just as He is filled with the 
Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the universe and 
of God's providence, the Spirit which converts 


evil to good ; and does so in us just as we recog- 
nise the hand to be good from which it comes, 
that from the same fountain cometh not sweet 
water and bitter, and which says, "Even so, 
Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight;" 
becoming good in the creature's sight, because 
good in the Creator's — not that the nature of the 
thing is changed, but that it is changed in 
character; if not good in itself, it comes to us 
to be as if it were so, because of the hand which . 
gives it. The means and power which does 
this is the sign of the cross, the key to the 
character of God in Christ. His acts of provi- 
dence are felt to be in accordance with that 

manifestation. The victory ever is by this sign ; 


by it the world is converted into the Church, 
and the book of Fate, the shut future, can be 
faced without fear. We shall not, and we need 
not, here set about to prove the truth of the 
revelation which we have of God in Christ. Its 
historic and its self-evidencing proofs must be 
reserved for other seasons ; suffice it for us here 
to assume that it is true, and to know that, by 
acting on this assumption, its truth becomes 


known to us by another and more excellent way ; 
the result being accomplished, than which more 
could not be done had we begun by external or 
argumentative proof. 

If we find the Father in Christ, and Christ to 
be the revelation of the Father, we can take all 
things from His hands, bitter and sweet equally, 
because believing that they are indispensably 
needful for the object in view, and that this 
object is good. By the revelation of God 
in Christ we are assured of this. With the 
knowledge of the life and death of Christ we 
do not expect to be set above the experience of 
all the various circumstances of life, or to have 
them altered for us here ; we do not expect to 
be delivered from, evil here altogether, or from 
the penalty of sin at all; we do not imagine 
that we shall be exempted from the operation 
of the providential laws of God. What we 
expect and desire is, to know and do the will 
of God, and to be set above the penalties due 
to its violation, by ceasing to violate it in 
acquiring and retaining fellowship with God. 
Christ has given us "fellowship" with God 


by giving us knowledge, and such know- 
ledge as leads to the desire to learn and do 
His will. This He has done. And in what 
He has done, instead of leading us to desire 
exemption from His law or will, He has made 
that will our desire. Our prayer now is, 
" Search me, O Lord, and know my heart : and 
see if there be any wicked way in me " — any way 
contrary to Thy will — li and lead me in the way 
everlasting." He enables us to face the future, 
not by expecting or desiring exceptions, but by 
finding in it the will of God, and that will neces- 
sarily good, whatever it may be. He enables us 
to find in God's will and providence the light and 
support of our life. 

This does not require, it rather obviates the 
necessity of requiring, the reason for or the 
meaning of the words, " Why hast Thou made 
me thus ? " We believe in the revelation that 
God in Christ is good, and must do good. Man 
finds himself in conditions over which he has 
little control, and of many of which he was not 
the cause. Death reigns over many who have 
not sinned after the similitude of Adam's trans- 


gression. Geology opens up mountains of dead, 
the victims of death, ages ere the birth of Adam. 
Our fathers' sins are visited on their children. 
Darkness and mystery, part of which we seem 
able to explain, but much of which must ever 
remain inexplicable to finite beings, surround 
us. We accept the part which we do not under- 
stand, that part which seems and is to us evil, 
for the whole which we do understand ; for the 
whole which is good, the real character of the 
Divine nature, which is wholly good, as seen 
in Christ. This is our strength, and peace, and 
assurance ; and it is enough — enough as to the 
present, and enough wherewith to meet the 
future. If we do not understand or like it, we 
understand and are reconciled to it in Him. 
We are sure, from what we see and understand 
in Him, that we ought to be satisfied, and we are 
satisfied with its likeness in Him. He is our 
guarantee and proof that nothing beyond need 


come upon us, that the government of God is 
good, and can be accepted in all its aspects by 
the light and strength which flow from Him. 
The incarnation and death of Christ — God 


there manifest in the flesh — is the groundwork on 
which we are enabled to build all things. When 
this openeth no man can shut, and when this 
shutteth no man can open. It is the foundation 
and keys of the Church ; its rock, and power of 
binding and loosing ; the meaning and object of 
the Church. It is the key we have to open with, 
the foundation whereon to stand. Blessed are 
the eyes which see the things that we see, and 
the hands which have to offer that which we 
offer. Blessed are we to be heralds, not of 
winter, but of summer; to have to say that 
God's promises to the world in Christ are 
"Yea and Amen." In Christ it is all Yea. This 
is good news for a New Year. Nay, is not this 
the ground of the Hallelujahs in the Apoca- 
lypse ? Is it not that God is what He is — that 
the Lamb slain was not slain merely to be slain, 
but to destroy death throughout eternity — that 
what He did, He did not do to be defeated, but 
to bring in everlasting life and everlasting right- 
eousness, to show that where sin abounds, grace 
much more abounds — that the Creator is not 
bound by the creature, but the creature by the 


Creator — that we are only straitened in our own 
bowels, and not by that which is in God ? The 
Church's great mission and message to mankind 
is "Sursum corda;" Lift up your hearts. Its 
mission is to set forth an everlasting Eucharist 
or thanksgiving ; to baptize the world into the 
name of its Father in Christ ; to baptize it into 
that name and Holy Spirit ; to show the Father 
to the world — not some one's Father, but its 
Father, not "my" Father, and "his" Father, 
but our Father — so that all may know and feel 
their common inheritance, and home, and 
ground of welcome to be in this, that God is 
our common Father, and one who does not give 
according to our deserts, but according to our 
needs and His own glory — which is not only in 
the being, but in the well-being of His crea- 
tures — and who is achieving that well-being by 
an education in righteousness. His glory will 
be in its fruition. Our duty and joy is to take 
part in and help towards this end, as fellow- 
workers with God. This we do just as we do 
or do not make God rightly known. This is 
the sign of a standing or of a falling church, of 

THE NEW YEAR. 1 1 1 

a free or bound, of a dead or living church, of 
a church with a future, or whose future (so to 
speak) is in the past. Let us strive to make God 
known — God in Christ as pardoning sin, yet by 
no means clearing the guilty — God dealing with 
the world as a Father, a Father and Redeemer 
in Christ. If this life be in us, it will blossom — 
blossom by holding forth the word of this life — 
holding forth that not death but life is before us, 
and that under whatever dress it comes or appear- 
ance it puts on, God is concealing a necessary 
teaching. Let this be our lesson and strength 
for the ensuing year ; let us believe that the 
teaching, whatever it may appear to be, is yet 
good, and that it cannot but be good, as being 
part of the way from and to Him, who Himself, 
because of what He is, must ever be "the 
Ocean to the river of our lives." 


" He that is unjust, let him be unjust still : and he which is 
filthy, let him be filthy still : and he that is righteous, let him 
be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still." — 
Rev. xxii. u. 

r I ^HERE are seasons when the questions of 
judgment and self-examination come up- 
permost in our minds. Especially is the close of 
a year such a season. We are just now at that 
period. "The year is gone beyond recall, with 
all its joys and fears." What are we, then, at 
the end of it ? Are we better or worse than 
we were at its beginning ? The same we 
cannot be. Is our spiritual being and condi- 
tion better? For out of that arises the river 
of our lives. If the source is clear and pure, 
so will be the river ; if turbid and troubled, so 
will the river be also. This may seem to us to 


be but a truism. It is one, however, on which 
depends the happiness or misery of our lives, 
their success or unsuccess. Much success as 
to outward things may depend on causes over 
which we have no control ; but, on the whole, 
the circumstances of our lives are ruled by what 
we are ourselves. Over this it is possible for 
us to exercise great control, at least at the 
outset of our lives. When once habits are 
formed — moral habits — it is different ; but until 
then, towards their formation we can do much. 
When once a habit is formed, it is indeed diffi- 
cult, nay, it would seem all but impossible, after 
a certain time, to change it, whether it be good or 
whether it be evil. It would seem as if in some 
sort we were machines, on which, if a certain 
stamp is once made, it will, with its exciting 
cause, invariably reappear. 

We have all perhaps observed, who are in the 
habit of hearing musical chimes, or the routine 
of tunes on one musical instrument, that if the 
accustomed rotation is changed, the mind 
runs on with the other, the accustomed tune 
entangling it with the new, so that we can 



scarce discriminate the new or the alteration. 
So it is with moral habits : once formed, either 
for good or evil, the old will run off with the 
new, and in many cases, and after a certain 
habituation, overcome it. The exciting cause 
will invariably be followed by the accustomed 
effect. The effect seems to be photographed 
upon us, and the revolution of the handle brings 
up the accustomed picture. It looks as if, after 
a certain period, the words of our text were pro- 
nounced, as judgment, as of a state fixed, inva- 
riable and eternal — " He that is unjust, let him 
be unjust still." How all-important, then, our 
habits, our holiness, our sinfulness! On this 
our eternal well-being depends. The reign of 
moral law would appear to be as fixed and in- 
variable as that of physical law ; and if so, how 
important that we should get into right relations 
with it, and with God, its cause and constituent ! 
All-important is it to realise this; else we are 
apt to get into false relations both with law 
and God, expecting what cannot be done, be- 
lieving what is not true or possible. For in- 
stance, men sin, as it is called ; they violate the 


rule of their conscience, or of some outward law ; 
and they feel uncomfortable. They wish there 
were no such law ; that is the first impression ; 
and the first effect of their sin is a feeling of 
injury. They do not like the restraint, they do 
not like the consciousness of transgression, they 
feel that they have a quarrel with the Lawgiver, 
and they think He has a quarrel with them. 
It becomes, or is supposed to be, a personal 
matter. Then it follows that if they repent they 
think that they have done their part, that all is 
as it was before, and that if the Lawgiver for- 
gives, all is over. They forget that the law is 
good, imposed, because it is good and for good, 
by One who does good because He is good, 
and that the alteration or removal of law would 
be evil, which therefore cannot be altered 
either in itself or in its effects. They forget or 
do not realise this, and, considering the affair to 
be a personal matter, suppose that with personal 
feeling all is ended. And in a certain sense this is 
true. But this view ignores their true relations 
with the Creator. They quite forget, and we all 
too often forget, that the Almighty did not create 


us from necessity, but from choice ; from desire, 
that is, for our happiness — a happiness, however, 
which can only be secured in a certain way, and 
that by the way of the laws which He has laid 
down for us. We forget this, or we do not 
know it ; and, therefore, when we sin, we first 
take up the attitude that God has something 
to get from us, and that, if we pay it, it is all 
right. We sin : we have not paid it. We then 
assume the attitude of penitents as if to pay it ; 
and we may feel sorry, as we remember God's 
goodness towards us : we are sorry, and we say 
we are sorry, and then we suppose all is right. 
And so far as the sorrow is genuine, it is all 
right, as restoring the true relation between 
us a*id our Creator, and with the laws which 
He has laid down for our good. But, then, this 
is not all. He has laid down the laws for our 
good. Their alteration, therefore, would be evil; 
they are complete in all their parts. When we 
violate them, they avenge themselves, that evil 
may be destroyed. This vengeance is part of 
the good of the law, and its operation, even when 
penitence comes in, is not dispensed with. It is 


a law that when a man drinks to intoxication 
his head suffers. It would be injurious to the 
man did not the suffering follow; it would be 
injurious to the man were the suffering removed. 
It is not removed, therefore, even if he repent. 
God may forgive the man. His relation to His 
offspring is ever to have mercy; but still the 
suffering on transgression goes on, even after 
repentance. It would not be mercy did it not 
go on ; it is mercy which carries it on. It cannot 
in the nature of things be dispensed with ; it is 
part of the law for removing sin and crime from 
the sinner. " Shall not He reward every man 
according to his works?" But blessed is the 
man that is so rewarded ; for " the blueness of 
a wound cleanseth away evil/' God, therefore, 
does not dispense with the consequences of 
transgression, not because He is not merciful, 
but because mercy here would do no good. He 
is merciful when He inflicts punishment for sin ; 
He would be unmerciful did He not so requite 

But men do not or will not see this, and when 
they sin put themselves into a false attitude 


with God. They think if they repent He will 
take off the punishment, and that, as we have 
said, it is a personal matter, and that an act of 
favour might or should be. done, and the con- 
sequences of sin removed. But it is not done ; 
and cannot be done without reversing the whole 
laws and wise and benevolent arrangements of 
the government of God. It is in physical as in 
moral nature : if a man falls and breaks his leg, 
the breaking is the consequence of the fall, it is 
no arbitrary infliction; if he gets intoxicated, 
his spiritual life is lowered. Yet, strangely, 
when the moral laws are recited in a man's ears, 
he seems to think some injury is done him, 
whereas they are for his good. He is not angry 
at hearing that putting his finger in the flame 
will pain him; but if he is told not to covet, 
and to prefer others to honour before himself, 
he feels that an injury is done him, or, at all 
events, that if he obey he is deserving of thanks : 
he will not or does not see that it is for his own 
good. We can generally discover our true rela- 
tions to God by trying what are a father's to his 


own children here. A child, for example, takes 


away and breaks an ornament he was told not 
to touch. He is sorry ; he confesses ; his father 
forgives him ; but this does not restore the orna- 
ment. Again, he is told not to go to a certain 
house ; he does go, and takes the scarlet fever. 
His father forgives him for violating his com- 
mand ; but this does not remove the fever. And 
what good would it be to us to be the king's 
children, if we were dying of small-pox ? We 
shall not carry this into the higher region where 
word and law are identical. This is enough, in 
a general way, for the aspects of the moral law 
here in its relation to God. 

Sin is an injury done to our own nature — an 
offence against our own souls — an injury to the 
beautiful and the good within us. It is no 
doubt an injury to our neighbour, to God's 
good universe, and. to God Himself. But first 
of all, and chiefly, it is a sin against our own 
selves, an evil inflicted on our own nature. It 
is an irrevocable evil ; for not even the Almighty 
power can uncommit an act once committed.* 

* Greg's "Creeds of Christendom,' ' and Law's "Spirit of 
Prayer" (passim). 

-- — -— * 


It joins the irrevocable past, and brings irre- 
vocable consequences, and we cannot recall the 
dead to write another epitaph. The inscription 
of what we were is eternally engraven upon our- 
selves. We ourselves are the books out of which 
the judge is to read the sentence ; for we our- 
selves are the crop of our own sowing. Sin con- 
tains its own retribution as naturally as the seed 
the crop. Every one makes his own future 
by his own sowing; and the judgment just is 
what we are. Sin cannot have any other or 
any greater punishment than its own conse- 
quence, which is not arbitrary, but simply the 
fruit of the seed we sow. The crop is involved 
in the sowing. God does not sit in judgment 
on it at last as a judge, but has ordained the 
consequences from the first as a legislator. But 
we do not realise this. We conceive in the case 
of sin that contrition will change results, and put 
all straight. It puts all straight in one sense, as 
we have said, because it rectifies our relations 
morally with God, but in no such sense as that 
sin is as if it never had been. Wherefore it is 
that to obey is better than sacrifice, not that 


sacrifice would not then be needed, but because 
no sacrifice can take the place of, or be as good 
as, the original good. 

We too little realise in daily life the tre- 
mendous importance of these things. We hear 
God's laws read, and know them as proclama- 
tions against sin, and deal with them as arbi- 
trary commandments which personal relation- 
ship may affect. We do not consider that their 
operation is and must ever and invariably be 
the same, because it is good;* but we imagine 
that somehow we shall escape from the evil con- 
sequences of sin by some personal act of favour 
on God's part in the way of dispensation; and so 
we muddle on too often through life in the belief 
that somehow, some time, it will be all right, and 
that in some mysterious but delightful way God 
will — as we phrase it — be gracious to us, recall 
the operation of His own laws, let th6 past sin 
be as if it never had been, and let us go free as 
if we had never sinned. But this is impossible, 

* How far things which are to us evil, but which so far as their 
work is good are themselves good, are separate, or separable from 
God, personally, we need not here discuss. 


and after a certain time, when a fixed habit is 
formed, whether for good or evil, the operation 
of the law and its results seem to become unal- 
terable — stamped upon us so that, as is said in 
our text, " He that is unjust, let him be unjust 
still : and he which is filthy, let him be filthy- 
still : and he that is righteous, let him be 
righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be 
holy still." 

How all-important, then, is a good choice ! 
How terrible or blessed the acquisition of habits ! 
If as the tree fall it lies, if there is no change 
beyond the grave, if the words of our text be 
ever spoken to us, is there then no hope, no hope 
for the confirmed sinner — none beyond the grave 
if none here — no possibility of a change there, 
or escape there, if not here ? Roman Catholics 
tell us of purgatory — but there is little Scripture 
warrant for the belief — and they tell us of a hell 
prepared for those who are too bad for purga- 
tory — too confirmed, that is, in evil habits — too 
far gone to cure — hopeless because irreclaimable. 
But then we may be asked — and it is time — 
What is the meaning of Christ ? Is there not a 


Gospel? What is the Gospel? Is it not news 
of salvation for sinners? Most certainly it is. 
There is hope for sinn&rs; and that hope is in 

But then we must observe that Christ comes 
not to deliver us from the consequences of sin or 
its punishment, so much as from sin itself. And 
He comes to deliver us from sin by setting us 
above it, above its commission, and therefore 
beyond the range of its consequences. He sets 
us above its commission, and, delivering us from 
the cause, delivers us from its results. He pre- 
vents its commission. He does not free us 
from the penalty of sin after commission. He 
comes to give us a more abundant life, and, by 
so doing, to set us above death and its kindred. 
He is a Saviour, and He saves by uniting us 
with Himself, thereby setting us free from 
punishment by setting us free from sin. He 
that abideth in Him sinneth not; and, just as 
He abideth, he that lays hold of Him lays hold of 
eternal life, and in so doing passes from death, 
unto life. If he lets it go and sins, he suffers as 
before, and falling into transgression reaps its 


consequences. If he repents and does his first 
works he is saved, yet so as by fire ; he bears 
about with him a suffering broken body, the 
monitor of his sin ; a body more disposed to sin 
than before ; to drag which up to the heights 
above is more difficult than before. A sinner 
who yields to sin, be it man or woman, has 
tenfold more difficulty in refraining from sin 
thereafter than one who has not yielded. To 
keep out is easier than to put out. After a time, 
it would seem as if it were not possible to put 
out ; and therefore it is written, " He that is 
unjust, let him be unjust still ; and he which is 
filthy, let him be filthy still." 

But what, then, you will say, is our hope ? For 
surely the motive power is not with us; the 
well of life is with God. Can we not, may we 
not, be recovered by the act of God ? Assuredly 
we may. What is grace but this ? Who makes 
one to differ from another ? And have we not all 
a claim — an equal claim — upon Him ? Christ's 
blood was shed equally for us all ; and from the 
love of which that is the proof and token none 
can snatch us. In that blood, then, we may all 


wash and be clean. Our hope and our cleansing 
is in this — in what God is ; in what we see Him 
in Christ to be ; in that in God of which Christ 
was the gauge and token, and which was equally 
in God before as after it was given ; which was 
given because its cause was there before ; which 
is not exhausted by the gift, but which in be- 
stowing the gift gave the way whereby that of 
which it was the outcoming should operate and 
effect its purpose, namely, the love of God — the 
love of God revealed to us and made apprehen- 
sible and practicable for us in Jesus Christ our 
Lord. That loye in God once there is there for 
ever. It has been from ever, and shall be ever 
there. It sent the Son from beyond the farthest 
of the twinkling stars, and through the depths 
of an erring and corrupted nature, until it found 
itself in the human heart. It knew what sin 
was and its consequences ; it felt what a revolt 
from and rejection of the highest good must be, 
and what the eternal perdition would be. Ecce 
Homo ! 

He heard the cry, " Thy hands have made me 
and fashioned me," " Domine ne despicias opera 


tuarum manuum." He heard the sighing of the 
prisoner, " Give me understanding, that I may- 
keep Thy commandments." He saw the stum- 
bling feet and the weary frame, and came as a 
light to the path and help to the weary ; and he 
too, being weary — [fessus est) — sat by the well, 
and taught. Yes ; He took mortality to His 
bosom, and departed with it to prepare a place 
for it, where and how we know not. But He 
came, and He is gone, to save. Let us be sure 
of that ; an assurance which rests and depends 
not upon what we are ourselves, or on what 
is in us, but on what He is, and what is in 

But He who tasted death for every man, 
leaves us here to learn the wages of sin that 
they are death, and to taste death ourselves. 
And how does this operate on us ? By looking 
unto Jesus, first remembering what He was, and 
then, in our measure — and blessed are we the 
larger is our measure — by becoming what He 
was. He overcame by what He was. He over- 
came evil with good. We can only overcome 


in the same way. It is only by and in the love 
of Christ — Christ's love — the same kind of love — 
that we can hope to put down whatever opposeth ; 
overcoming evil with good. The love of Christ 
constraineth us to be what He was : our having 
the love of Christ will enable us to constrain others 
to rise — to rise until they are as we are, or are 
subdued, turned, counted from opponents and 
evil to be one with us and good. This is the 
way — infallible, sure — just as we rise up to and 
possess it. To give this, Christ came ; to 
enable us to have it He showed it, exercised 
it, gave it. It was in Him before — that is, in 
God ; but to show it, and for God to give 
it in and by the way He did, was grace. 
This was the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
He did this; He took and put aside all other 
and lower things to make room for this and to 
do this. Thus we shall do it, and can do it; 
thus we can resist temptation, make an end of 
sin, and bring in an everlasting righteousness. 
This is the power of the Lord Jesus ; the justifi- 
cation of us by faith in Him ; the grace of the 


Lord Jesus, who by His doing this is Lord and 
our Lord ; whom, because of this we choose for 
our Lord and follow. 

Doing this, the day comes when though our 
sins were as scarlet they become as white as 
snow, not forgiven or forgotten by ourselves, 
yet having no more dominion over us, law 
being changed from a bondage to become a 
guide — a condition which, although freed from 
sin, has no consciousness or thought of merit, 
but which enthrones the Lamb as the centre 
and support of Heaven, and is the source of 
the songs of praise therein "to Him that was 
* • slain, and washed us from our sins in His own 

As yet we have not come to that land of 
flowers. Yet it is before us, and we are on the 
way. Let us, therefore, with the beginning of a 
new year, watch our steps, seeking the right and 
true path, and so following it on that we shall 
be In no danger of losing it, but rather, sowing 
to the spirit and treading in the steps of the just, 
shall find the road easier and brighter as we 


proceed — until the happy day dawns when all 
good shall be confirmed and assured to us, and 
it shall be said, "He that is righteous, let him 
be righteous still ; and he that is holy, let him 
be holy still." Amen. 




" And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads, and 
saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three 
days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from 
the cross." — St. Matthew xxvii. 39, 40. 

T)ERHAPS it may have passed through our 
minds, as it did through those of the Jews, 
that if He had been the Son of God He would 
have come down from the cross. Yet a moment's 
reflection ought to convince us that it would not 
be so ; that precisely because He is the Son of 
God He could not come down. For why was 
He there at all ? He was there voluntarily ; 
He was there for a purpose. He could not 
come down until it was accomplished. What 
then was that purpose ? It was the salvation of 
a world — a purpose which showed and proved 
His divinity by the method of its accomplish- 
ment. We talk of Christ's divinity, and in some 


sort we believe it. But do we realise in what 
His divinity consists, or why He is divine ? 
JTie divine — what is it ? No doubt the Most 
High ; but most high in what ? In that surely 
which is itself most high, love and righteous- 
ness, in which He who is highest is God. He 
is God by the right divine of perfect love and 
righteousness. Herein consists and is proved 
the divinity of Christ. One with God, of one 
will, one heart, one mind, having without 
measure the Holy Spirit of the one God, being, 
as we read, "in the form of God," He came 
to do that which was according to this form. 
He came to save a world lying in wickedness 
in the only way in which it could be saved ; and 
that He found to be by the sacrifice of Himself. 
Herein is divinity, and this was His. He could 
not but do it ; for it was but acting according to 
what His nature led Him to do. It would have 
been a violation of His divinity not to do what 
He did — a violation of His love and righteous- 
ness. There was but one way — the sacrifice of 
Himself. He took it because He could not 
but take it ; it was the only divine way, the 


only way for God. Does this take away from 
the good and grandeur, or what we call the 
merit, of the work, or make it less likely to be^ 
successful? The word "merit" cannot be applied 
to God. What He does is right, neither more 
nor less. Does it then lower the estimation of 
Him and His work ? Do the Levite and the 
priest, or the good Samaritan, stand highest in, 
our estimation ? Surely he who did not pass by 
him who was in need. Assuredly that which 
is most high, and in which true power lies, 
consists not in being ministered unto, but 
in ministering ; this is the true divinity, and 
the divinity of Christ. But men do not believe 
this ^ and, not believing it, adopt false methods 
to attain power ; yea, they employ force — pains 
and penalties of this life — to exalt even the 
name of Christ. Alas ! it is the opposite way 
to be successful. Who now, after eighteen, 
hundred years of His history, is king of men ? 
The lords of force ? Alexander \ Napoleon ? 
Is it not rather the meek and lowly Christ ? 
Not the popes and bishops, but the hidden and 
lowly saints. 

■J^^^i^l^— g^. » P. .■ M 1^ HPI I M.V ' »»u r '■•,-" ■" * "»— i— *^» 


In Christ upon the cross this is set before us 
in its highest, and there, as at the cradle of 
Bethlehem, it is that the angelic song breaks 
forth, Gloria in excelsis Domino. He who was 
rich became poor for the salvation of a world ; 
and the world is saved by His poverty. Yet 
never was God more rich than then. For it is 
the Lamb " as it had been slain " — God, that is, 
emptied of driving force — which is the centre of 
the adoration of heaven. Christ came to save a 
world lying in wickedness, dead to and uncon- 
scious of the true good. It was to be made 
alive to it, and conscious, by His self-sacrifice, 
and He suffers until it be accomplished. He 
still suffers, and must suffer, until the sin and 
suffering of the world is ended. Can it be other- 
wise ? Behold the man ! AnA behold the world ! 
A sad world, lying in wickedness — babes born, 
cast out and famished; husbands and wives 
severed by death, and worse, by wickedness; 
fathers and children estranged from each other ; 
poor honest men touching their hats to proud 
unrighteous men for liberty to work, for leave to 
labour to maintain their families ; quiet men 


driven to the wars by kings and emperors, 
wars from which the poor peasantry reap no- 
thing ; rogues successful; and, yet more strange, 
multitudes of men gaining an honest livelihood 
by disease, and death, and strife — doctors, 
lawyers, soldiers ; surely all but maggots on 
the corpse of a decaying world which requires 
such things — a world whose head is sick, and 
heart faint, and life out of course ! A sad world 
— and yet how near to joy ! Beautiful as well 
as stricken — beautiful externally, mechanically ; 
beautiful internally, spiritually ; beauteous faces, 
beauteous hearts; hearts ever seeking, seldom 
finding; ever fearing, ever hoping, never at 
rest ; ever touching, never realising ; ever fall- 
ing short of holding ; seeing, but not possess- 
ing ; the ideal higher than the real ; intentions 
higher than fulfilment; songs without words; 
a sad wind sighing through the forest ; the very 
flowers containing thoughts that often lie too 
deep for tears ; — an unintelligible world, of weary 
weight to man ! Christ realised all this — what 
the world was to man. He heard the groaning 
and travailing of creation in its outward and, 


so far, inevitable aspects ; but, more than this, 
He realised in man the deaf ear which would 
not hear, the blind eye which would not see, 
and the hardened heart which would not feel 
what it might have seen and heard and felt of 
God as corrective of all this. The whole was 
vocal unto Christ, and entered into the ears of 
the Lord of Sabaoth. And, notwithstanding 
their wilful sin, He heard the cry : — " It is He 
that hath made us, and not we ourselves." 
"We are His people, and the sheep of His 
pasture." "Despise not Thou, O Lord, the 
work of Thine own hands." "Truly my hope 
is only in Thee." Christ heard — the Son who 
is in the bosom of the Father heard — this 
voice, and the voice, too, of the Father. He 
heard the desire, and He said, "Lo, I come 
to do Thy will, O God." It was divine to hear, 
divine to do, and to do the work as it could only 
be done to accomplish its purpose. He had to 
make manifest the divine, and, by making mani- 
fest, infect mankind with it. He had to justify 
the ways of God to man, and yet this in such a 
manner as would lead them to accept and glorify 


God in them. He was to seek and save the lost ; 
to seek the lost where lost, and restore by seek- 
ing. It was in the flesh they had gone astray ; 
it was in the flesh they were to be sought and 
found. He took, therefore, the flesh of humanity, 
and He took it that by so doing He might take 
the manhood into God. Man had sought good 
apart from the true good : the true good had, first 
of all, to be set before him. God is the true good, 
and man had become ignorant of God. Igno- 
rance had produced alienation, and alienation 
enmity. Christ revealed Himself the true God 
and good together. He revealed these in re- 
vealing love and righteousness — the true love, 
the true right. "Ask a sign/' He seemed to say ; 


"ask it either in the depth, or in the height 
above." And He gave us a sign — a proof of 
what God and the true good is, a pledge and 
proof which cannot be gainsaid, and cannot be 
exhausted. By His life on earth, and by Hfe 
suffering on the cross, He prepared a means 
for the salvation or healing of the world— a 
means which, wherever accepted, has achieved 
its end. His sufferings have drawn man to 


Himself, and in so drawing have withdrawn 
him from sin and its consequent sufferings. 
Thus He suffered, the just for the unjust, to 
bring us to God, to put an end to sin, and bring 
in an everlasting righteousness; and wherever 
this has been seen and accepted, the end has 
been accomplished. It has not altered the cir- 
cumstances of nature or the course of life ; but 
it has enabled us to be independent of them, 
and to triumph over them. If the child will play 
with fire, it is burnt. But now it knows what 
fire is, and that it is not the will of the Father 
that it should play with it ; yea, that in rescuing 
it from fire, Christ Himself suffered, and does 
suffer. Man's will is free, and left free ; but now 
he feels an influence attracting him, not to lay 
it down, but to place it in the channel of the 
Father's will. He has become a son, with the 
spirit of a son, and finds in obedience perfect 
freedom, the glorious but relinquished liberty of 
the sons of God. 

Christ, by reconciling us to the will of God, 
by showing us God, and declaring to us that as 
is the fountain so is the stream, gives us power 


to accept the will of God, and in accepting it to 
abstain from turning the laws of the Divine go- 
vernment to our own destruction. Christ does 
this by what He suffered for us. But we must 
not suppose that His sufferings were penal or 
punishments. They arose out of His accepting 
the conditions of our nature while retaining His 
own. Sin was brought into close connection 
with Him, and wounded Him. He mourned 
over it ; He wept over Jerusalem because of its 
destruction for its sins. He wept, but His tears 
were not penal ; they were tears of compassion 
and sorrow, of acquiescence also in the righteous 
judgments of God upon sin. His sufferings re- 
conciled us to God, and to God's punishments 
for sin. They were acceptable to the Father, and 
well-pleasing, not as sufferings y but because of 
the end and motive; acceptable because they 
were a way to an end, an end desired, and not to 
be accomplished otherwise. They were sufferings 
which involved the cessation of all suffering. In 
this sense they were acceptable to God. And 
now by means of them the world is becoming 
what Christ beheld when for the joy that was 


set before Him He endured the cross, despising 
the shame. 

Christ's sufferings were vicarious, but real- 
vicarious in being for the sake of others, real 
because undergone by Himself ; for the sake of 
others as giving life, new life to the world by His 
dying. But the point of the sufferings of Christ 
is that they are the sufferings of God. As the 
sufferings of a mere man they could not affect 
us beyond what our own sufferings affect. But 
if of God, then the aspects and foundations are 
wholly different. If it is asked, 'Can God Him- 
self suffer ? Is suffering possible to the Divine 
nature ? ' We answer assuredly, * Yes ; if God 
be love/ A moral is the proof of a personal 
nature, and in its highest sense is God. And 
as moral natures suffer at sin, or in its presence, 
so must they in proportion to their elevation. 
This involves the highest suffering in God. In 
His case it is vicarious suffering, because result- 
ing from the sins of others ; but though not 
arising from personal sin, yet is it true suffering 
and sorrow. The suffering keeps pace and is one 
with the love ; for all true pain, like all true joy, 


is the product of love. If God be not love He is 
nothing ; at least, we can then form no concep- 
tion of Him, and can know nothing worthy of 
being God. 

We believe, however, that He is love, and 
capable of suffering as love suffers — not phy- 
sically of course, but as that which fe highest 
in us suffers, our moral nature. Our highest 
nature, our moral nature, that whereby we reach 
most high, cannot mislead us so far as, when 
it brings us to our highest, to leave us outside 
of and without any knowledge of God. How 
then does He suffer ? We see it in Christ. Love 
ever suffers at the lessening of the beloved ; and 
God therefore suffers in the sinning of His 
children. He must so suffer until their sin be 
ended. Christ came to take away suffering by 
taking away sin, and He suffered that sin might 
be ended. And His atonement consisted not 
only in sorrow for our sin and in sympathy for our 
suffering, but He initiated suffering for Himself 
that He might take away man's sin and suffer- 
ing. By His own suffering He was to end sin, 
and bring in an everlasting righteousness. He 


suffered — the Just for the unjust — that we might 
acquire the righteousness of God thereby. This 
is the righteousness and standing which we 
have in Christ. He underwent that which 
otherwise He need not have undergone, that 
man need not undergo it. This was His merit, 
and the way in which His suffering was 
vicarious. He came under the law of death that 
we might escape from it. He became poor that 
we might become rich. "Verily, verily," He 
said, " except a corn of wheat fall into the 
ground and die, it abideth alone. But if it die, it 
bringeth forth much fruit." God could not abide 
alone more in redemption than in creation. 
His purpose was to bring forth much fruit in 
creation, to restore fruit in redemption, and to 
lift man up by engrafting him on a higher tree 
— to end death by dying. To deprive sin of its 
wages, death, by depriving sin of existence, 
Christ put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 
Revealing God, He gives fellowship with Him : 
such fellowship as cries, "My Lord and my 
God " — a fellowship which passes through death, 
and by means of it into eternal life ; which in 


the very midst of the outpouring says, " Even 
so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight," 
looking not at the cup but at the hand, and re- 
joicing in hope of the glory of God. He shows 
us that Just One by Himself being the Just One, 
by abiding holy in the midst of contradiction, by 
recognising the holiness of God in the apparent 
end of all perfection, finding, in the wreck of 
worlds, "Thy commandment is exceeding broad." 
He received man's injustice to Himself, and man 
was smitten by the justice of God. He received 
the venom from the sinner, and the sinner 
became clean. He was the scapegoat, the butt of 
men's evil passions — they had their outcoming 
in Him. He received them into Himself, was 
crucified, dead, and buried. But then His vic- 
tory began. He was carried by the rich to 
His burial, and from that day to this His train 
has been followed with increasing numbers, 
until first the religion of the Jews and then of 
the Greeks was .swallowed up into it, and 
nations and kindreds whom no man can number. 
Kings, Emperors, and Caesars swelled His pro- 
cession, and were themselves forgotten in it, 


and shall be until all thrones, dominions, and 
powers, will be swallowed up and lost within it, 
and Christ will reign as King over all creation 
by virtue of what He is. Men will behold Him 
whom they have pierced. They shall see the 
King who turned not His back on the smiters, and 
proclaim a King for ever come, a kingdom which 
cannot be overthrown, which renews itself and 
regenerates its subjects at every contemplation 
of what it is. They shall recognise God's blessed 
nature and their own position, and say, " Halle- 
lujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth ! " 
— reigneth by what He is—" Our Father which 
art in Heaven." 

From the days of Christ there has been a 
great restoration and elevation of humanity; 
broken down, no doubt, by ebbs, and corrup- 
tions, and by false Christs, and deceiving Anti- 
christ, and evil angels ; but the procession and 
progress have gone on, and are still going on. 
All men are more or less influenced by it, the 
standard of Christ being the standard of hu- 
manity ; and in this sense already is Christ judg- 
ing the world. Churches and kingdoms have 


been based on that foundation; and churches 
and kingdoms not on that foundation have been 
thrown down. True it is that the names have 
often been given falsely, Christ being worshipped 
by other names, and others than Christ having 
falsely borne His name; but, under what- 
ever name, the kingdom has gone on, right- 
eousness and truth have kissed each other 
and looked down on the world and gathered 
strength therein since the days and by the 
coming of Christ. He whom men rejected has 
been by men accepted, and is gradually and by 
their own choice putting all things under His 
feet. Christ increases and must increase. He 
suffered for a purpose, and that purpose must be 
accomplished. It is the resurrection and salva- 
tion of humanity. He cannot be unsuccessful. 
He did not come for defeat but for victory. It 
is true in the nature of things that evil is over- 
come of good. In the highest nature, as that of 
man, it must be the truest of all things. He 
must reign until He has put all His enemies 
under His feet. He reigns by doing so. Is 
there to be any place where God is not to reign ? 


There is none. Christ is the way of all ; for in 
Him we see God willing our salvation. His 
will cannot be eternally frustrated, for it can- 
not be that the Omniscient should will the im- 
possible. We see not yet all things put under 
Him ; but in Christ we have its pledge. When 
the stone was rolled away from the sepulchre 
of Christ, the new Adam was the restorer of 
humanity; there was a new birth, a new song, 
a new heaven, a new earth, and Paradise, We 
see not yet the fruition of it all, for death still 
reigns ; but it is being buried with the gradual 
burial of sin, and we wait in faith for the full 
completion. As yet praise waits in Zion, but 
the harps and music are in our hands. At the 
reappearance of the Conqueror, with the head of 
the dead serpent, when we see Him, the music 
will burst forth. 

But now we wait in faith. Often we sow in 
tears, our seed is hid in the earth, our hopes out 
of sight, our prayer as morning clouds passing 
out of sight in vapour; but the act has been 
accomplished, the thing done ; it is in the nature 
of things impossible that it should not bear its 


146 revelation as light. 

fruit. Christ Himself, whilst here, showed His 
own premonition of it when He said, " I thank 
Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth." 
Because of this He ascended the cross, and did 
not descend save by the gate of death ; for He 
knew that that gate opened a wide vista to 
Him, and by Him to humanity. It was a way 
of suffering, the way of the cross. But it bore 
much fruit on it. The cup was bitter. He was 
despised and rejected by those His love came 
to save. He prayed the Father if possible to 
remove the cup. " If it be possible," He cried. 
It was not possible, and therefore He drank it — 
drank it as the Holy Child Jesus, as a babe, 
saying, "Even so Father." But then it was 
finished, and forthwith He entered into rest, a 
rest wherein He received the keys of hell and of 
death, and likewise those of Heaven, which He 
bestows on all who see in Him the ways and 
works of God — keys which make those alive 
for evermore who know what they are, and how 
to use them. Alas, how many have claimed 
to have them who knew them not, and used 
them as if they were their own ! 


What do these keys for us ? How far can we 
use them ? By His cross and passion Christ re- 
veals and gauges unto us the nature and pur- 
poses of God. He bids us have confidence in 
God. He says by them, " It is I ; be not afraid." 
Are any now faint-hearted at the turning of 
those keys ? The shadows fly away. Are any 
tempted to sin at those holy symbols ? Sin hides 
its head. In the hour of death, in the day of 
judgment, in the day of sunshine and joy, they 
equally save and redeem us. They are the arms 
on the royal banners in the day, the watch- 
word of the sentinels at night, a pledge and 
prophecy of the morning. 

" He that spared not His own Son, but deli- 
vered Him up for us all, how shall He not with 
Him also freely give us all things ? " "I am per- 
suaded," adds St. Paul, " that neither death, nor 
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, 
nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able 
to separate us from the love of God, which is in 
Christ Jesus our Lord." 

No doubt the time is long, but the thing is 


certain. Once there it is always there, for 
there is no change in God. The saints, per- 
haps, have already cried, " Lord, how long ? " 
And there is need of patience; but we must 
remember that Christ Himself is also waiting 
and suffering. For Christ cannot but suffer 
at the continued presence of sin. He has no 
interest in delaying. It is we who prevent 
the kingdom by our backwardness. But, also, 
there is time required for our own perfect- 
ing — a long time for the education of immortal 
souls. It took long to make the worlds : it will 
take longer to perfect immortal souls. Let us 
have patience. In God all things are garnered, 
and all things safe. If we reflect, the more we 
consider it the more we are satisfied that all is 
well. God is omniscient. God is almighty. He 
desires the world's welfare. He cannot desire 
the impossible, and He is equal to and engaged 
in carrying the possible well-being on — God, 
that is, as seen and gauged to us in Christ. No 
doubt if God be not as seen in Christ, we are 
indeed wide of our mark, and poor indeed ; yea, 
of all men most miserable. But if God be 

~r r 'i_. ii i 


not Christ and as Christ, in what form can we 
imagine Him ? How can we have that response 
within us to Christ as the Most High if no ori- 
ginal exists of the conception we have formed ? 
He could not have been, and we could not have 
been. But both are ; and the highest in them 


is the same. Our lights are from His light; 
our lesser from His greater. We cannot be the 
Most High ; we feel that there is higher than 
we in that in which we are highest. We know 
what is the most high in us ourselves ; we find it 
higher and better in Christ, and therefore know 
that to be the original from whence we came. 
From what we are we know what He is — only 
higher and better in that in which we are best, 
the love and righteousness by which He made 
and keeps the worlds. And if we say, 'Yea, 
but where is He Himself?' are we not involved 
in a system of law, which has no room for 
an external personalty, and no ending or be- 
ginning ? I know that I am greater than law, 
and that law must have had and have a Law- 
giver. The object of law is different from law, 
higher and evincing an origin beyond the law, 


an origin independent of the law, which, as all 
law has beneficence for its root, is a blessed 
origin, an origin of bliss, as its effluence is bless- 
ing. And if we rise from physical to moral law, 
how much more is this evident — not only as 
moral law is concerned with higher things, but 
as it evinces that the lower are but ministers 
to the higher, and that their well-being can 
only consist in the attainment of moral bless- 
ings. What is that but to say that there is an 
origin for all this, an origin like itself, of which 
it is the outflow and reflection — an origin which, 
having regard to persons, is Himself a Person, 
nay, the Persona and reality of all things which 
are good ? A Persona which has good for His 
object must Himself be good, the good and cause 
of good to all ; the cause and maintenance of all 
that is good, ever pushing this forward to its 
completion in the moral perfecting of His crea- 
tures, the lower being subservient to, and having 
its being in accordance with, the accomplish- 
ment of the higher. 

Our assurance is based upon what He is, not 
upon that which we are in ourselves ; that as 


He is our Father He will not let us perish ; that 
as we are the sheep of His pasture He will not 
let us want for pasture; that He despises not 
the work of His own hands, nor will leave our 
souls in hell or suffer us to see corruption. 
This gives us confidence towards God, not only 
as to ourselves, but as to others; as there is 
nothing which we did not receive, and none ^of 
us have any special merit to plead, so we feel 
that His dealing with others will be and is as 
sure as with ourselves, for their higher and 
ever increasing happiness. The way is differ- 
ent with different persons, made easier or more 
difficult as men accept or reject the teaching and 
leading of God; but that teaching ever goes 
on, and has the same end in view — not destruc- 
tion but salvation. Those who have passed 
out of sight, therefore, we confidently commit 
to Him as unto a faithful Creator, beseeching 
Him to undertake for them. It is not a per- 
sonal salvation we want ; no one can want a 
personal salvation. There can be no such thing. 
What would one be saved alone ? " Open thy 
mouth wide and I will fill it ;" that is the salva- 


tion we seek, and which is promised by God. 

What source has this desire ? Surely the source 

whence we ourselves come ! What other source ? 

For can we desire more than He who is the 

Source of desire ? Let us not say, * What were 

we if Thou wert not?' which is indeed much; 

but ' How could we have been hadst Thou 

never been ?' And how can we desire more in 

the direction of good than the Author of desire ? 

God liveth ever, and ever is the same, and, 

because of what He is, our future is determined, 

" for we shall see Him as He is," and to see Him 

as He is we must be like Him as He is. He 

draws us to Himself by that which is best within 

ourselves, teaching us thus what He is. Let us 

thus draw near. Let us rise to Him by love. 

Let us comfort ourselves by what He is. Let 

the mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus— 

to overcome by love. Let us love and grow by 

trust. God waits and works. Let us wait and 

work also. , He was patient upon the cross and 

would not come down, because of what He is 

and had to do there. Let us be and do the 

same, trusting to the same. 


Let us be patient ; and yet also impatient, for 
in a very true sense Christ is still hanging upon 
the cross. Where sin and sinners are, there 
again and ever Christ is crucified. So long 
as sin goes on it must be so, and the kingdom of 
the Father be deferred. While sin reigns that 
is deferred; it is only perfected or brought in 
where there is no spot, or wrinkle, or any such 
thing; and until these disappear Christ still 
suffers. He is patient, but patience means suf- 
fering. Let us not inflict more on that Divine 
Spirit who now helps us with groanings which 
cannot be uttered. 

These are but elementary truths ; but, never- 
theless, they reach deep into the heart of 
things, and are at the foundation of the eter- 
nal kingdom. They are but silver edges of 
the cloud which surrounds God's providence ; 
still, they are silver. A cloud must more or 
less ever surround the providence of God. 
For what creature can equal the Creator, or 
understand all His wisdom or ways? And 
here we are but in the early days of our 
birth and being. We must walk by faith. 


Yet so can we only walk by believing it 
is not all dark behind. Faith is the child of 
Hope, and rests upon an assurance of good 
things to come— r-that it is not all dark behind 
the cloud. And assuredly it is not dark ; for the 
light we see ts light, and an evidence of greater 
light beyond — yea, an eternal light, of which it 
is a portion ; since the light we now have is the 
same in kind as that which is beyond and to 
come. And not only so, but this world is the 
germ, the factor, of the world which is to 
come. All worlds are made of the same ele- 
ments. This, indeed, is a real and sure truth ; 
yet it is one which, though ever present in the 
heart of man, and known to every man who 
thinks and will examine himself, lies dormant 
until a man, awakened by the call of the Father, 
recognises his place. Then, realising what he is, 
and the elements out of which he is made, he 
passes from death unto life, from time into eter- 
nity. Such are the sons of God, and of such is 
the kingdom of Heaven. That kingdom and its 
laws are revealed in Christ. Christ is the reve- 
lation of that kingdom, and the way to it. And 


so it is said, " He that hath the Son hath life, 
and he that hath not the Son hath not life." 
We become sons, that is, by laying hold of the 
life of Christ. And so it is eternal life to lay 
hold of Christ. Yet few in this life seem to do 
so. Men can live without doing so : most men 
seem, indeed, to live so. But how different is 
life when the revelation of what it is comes to 
us ! We lay hold of it in Christ. Then it comes 
to us as a reality : then it comes to us with 
power. How different a life, and how much 
better a life! How different when man lives 
not for or by himself, but for and by a Father ! 
How different when man lives not by bread 
alone, but by every word which proceedeth 
from the mouth of God, when every act, and 
gift, and circumstance, is taken as from the 
hands of a wise and loving Father ! A lily was, 
no doubt, as sweet before, but yet how much 
sweeter when we know whence it comes ! So 
it is with whatever is' seen as given us by the 
hand of a Father. It is not, then, one bush alone 
which burns with fire, but every bush burns with 
heavenly fire, and is seen as full of the glory of 


God.* Thus we have not only one Eucharist — 
though that of bread and wine is ever first, as 
that whereby God drew most nigh to man — but 
all the world is filled with the glory of God, and 
transubstantiated into IBs presence ; all the uni- 
verse becomes sacramental and vocal through- 
out its height and depth. God no longer is 
hidden from man by what man has called 
Nature, but Nature in all her forms and powers 
is seen full of the being and character of God ; 
and instead of being unable to find God for 
Nature, man is unable to find Nature for God. 
How different is the world and the universe 
to a man whose eyes have thus been opened! 
Others see at sunrise a golden orb emerging 
from the sea ; he too sees this, but hears also 
an innumerable company of angels praising 
God ! This is what Christ came to give us when 
He came to manifest the nature of God, and to 
dispel the darkness of the world by filling it with 
the light of His presence. This light has come 
into the world, and the world can never be again 
as it was before. Let us distinguish it. Let us 

* Blake. 


keep it pure, by keeping Christ pure, and having 
by Him the spirit of love. Let us not be in the 
Father's house without seeing the Father, or 
look into the heavens without finding Him 
there. Christ, in revealing the Father, fills 
Heaven and earth with the character of His pre- 
sence, thus giving us a key to His works every- 
where and always. He tells us that what is 
ought to be, and that if we are as we ought to 
be we shall see this ; and again, that by seeing 
this we shall be as we ought to be. He gives 
us to see heights beyond our earthly levels, and 
shining mountain-tops afar off, where before there 
was darkness. He does for us in the spiritual 
world what astronomers have done in the ma- 
terial, giving us data whereby we may find 
that which as yet has not come into vision. 
Christ goes before our spirits, showing them 
what, without Him, we could not find. In and 
through Him we find worlds otherwise un- 
realised, things not seen as yet, and some not 
yet born, but to be born and seen in the fulness 
of time. We, believing, wait for them. Christ 
is our pledge and proof. He says that we shall 


see greater things than any which now we see. 
Now we are but at the beginning of things, 
children playing by the shore, before whom 
lies a great ocean still unexplored. We have 
the compass in His love. But how little of 
that have we as yet fathomed! Even in our 
high things here we have as yet been but very 
low. The very point of His own manifestation 
is missed by most of us. The worship of the 
King of Glory has generally been as if His 
glory were the opposite of what it is. 

" Many, if God would make them kings, 
Might not disgrace the throne He gave ; 
How few, however, could fulfil 
The holier office of a slave."* 

Let us not put the kingdom from us by mis- 
apprehending its nature, and by relegating to 
the future that which must be here to be at all, 
which in some sort must be ours here to be ours 
hereafter, and which cannot be ours without 
our being aware of it. The future kingdom is 
made out of the present, the kingdom of God 
to come out of that which now is. In kind 

* Proctor. 


both are the same. The kingdom is simply the 
becoming partakers of the Divine nature. It is, 
and is to be, within us ; for it consists in having 
fellowship with the Father through Christ Jesus. 
That fellowship is one in spirit and truth — a 
holy spirit, a meek spirit, ever ready to 
minister rather than to be ministered unto, and 
to give one's self a ransom for others. This is 
the spirit of Christ, and it is written on the 
forehead of all His children and brethren. It 
is their life and happiness. Bearing about in 
their body the dying of the Lord Jesus, they 
overcome by the love of Christ, the same love 

which was in Christ their Saviour and Redeemer. 


This is their nature, because His. It is the 
Divine nature, that by which the worlds were 
made and are sustained. We must rise to it, 
live by it, overcome by it ; else, seizing and 
destroying, instead of living by and waiting in 
faith, we shall be ourselves overcome. Amen. 


" Thou wast a God that forgavest them, though Thou tookest 
vengeance of their inventions." — Psalms xcix. 8. 

r I A HESE words give us the key to much which 
is often mysterious in the Divine govern- 
ment. God, they tell us, forgives, but takes 
vengeance on our inventions. What is the 
meaning of this ? No doubt that God governs 
as a Father, that as such He corrects, but only 
to heal, not to destroy; that He forgives, but that 
His forgiveness often takes the form of a medi- 
cine. God, says our text, forgives, but takes 
vengeance on our inventions ; or, as the Prayer 
Book version has it, " punishes " our inventions. 
God, that is, governs by law, by law enforced 
by penalty, by law which is good, and of which 
penalty is a portion. He does not dispense 
with law, or with penalty when required to 


secure the enforcement of law; for both are good, 
and both are necessary. God puts his crea- 
tures under the operation of law, wise and 
beneficent law. If the laws are violated they 
avenge themselves on their violators, as when 
it is said, " God takes vengeance on their in- 
ventions." We must understand aright the use 
here of the word " vengeance." It is a human 
word which cannot be justly applied to the 
Divine actions without some explanation. It 
has no sense of vindictiveness ; it does not 
mean that God steps in by some arbitrary act 
to punish, taking vengeance in the human sense 
of the word. It simply means that if men vio*- 
late the law God leaves the law to avenge itself. 
It is a benevolent law. God does not inter- 
fere to stop its operation. He allows (as we say) 
" the law to take its course." In this way He 
punishes our inventions. At the same time He 
is forgiving them. It is ever in His heart to 
bless ; but this is the way He conducts His 
blessing. He made the law to bless. For 
what other object can God have but our good ? 
He is ever blessing. But this is the way 



wherein His blessings work. He gives us 
seeds with different results, good and bad. He 
tells what are their results. He gives us a choice 
in sowing, and He allows us to reap the fruit 
of the seed we sow. Thus He teaches and in- 
structs us. Thus only can we be taught. It is 
needful for our teaching that the law should 
operate according to its nature. In no other 
way could we discern good from evil ; in no 
other way should we know that God and His 
laws are good. He teaches us what to choose 
and what to refuse. He forgives, but He does 
not dispense with penalty, or allow the sense 
of forgiveness to be felt too soon. He allows 
the creature to reap of the seed it sows, and 
when the lesson is learnt He takes the creature 
to His bosom. It was in His bosom before ; it 
is always in His bosom ; but it does not know 
that it is in His bosom until it knows that He 
and His laws are good, and cleaves to them. 
Then it has rest. 

Life, in short, is an education — an education 
at the hands of an almighty but loving School- 
master, against whom there is no appeal, whose 


laws are unalterable, whose purposes must be 
accomplished, but whose purposes, as His 
nature is, are good. This will be self-evident 
to us if we recognise that God is good, for 
we shall then know that God, in giving us 
being, had no purpose but our well-being, that 
He could have no purpose in our creation but 
our good. He did not require us. He was not 
obliged to make us. In fact the goodness of 
God breaking forth into a desire to communi- 
cate good was the sole first cause of the crea- 
tion, as it is the only rational explanation of its 
continuance. If creation took its origin in 
love, it is evident that to all eternity God can 
have no thought or intent towards His creatures 
but to communicate good to them. If this was 
His first it must be His eternal attitude to His 
creatures. God's first motive in creation must 
ever be His mind towards it, for what God once 
is He always is. Being perfect He does not 
and cannot change, but always wills and is 
that which He willed and was at first. He 
must ever will and act in accordance with 
His nature, and His nature is that of love. 


" God is love," says St. John ; and our reason 
and conscience both confirm the saying. Were 
it not so — with all reverence be it spoken — God 
would not Himself be. Being love, He gave 
birth to creation. A creation was inevitable ; 
for some object is ever requisite beyond self 
on which love can be exercised and overflow. 
Having given it birth, He is ever feeding it 
with food convenient for it. He is ever pressing 
it on unto perfection. 

He has given birth to creatures of intelligent 
and moral natures, gifted with free will, able to 
choose and to refuse, to return or deny the love 
which He pours out upon them. Such only, 
indeed, in any true sense, are moral beings. 
Such only can truly give Him any adequate 
response. He is engaged in perfecting such. 
Having choice, it is inevitable that at times they 
choose amiss. He does not cast them off, but 
deals with them as they require and deserve. 
He gives them that they need — time — and the 
fruit of the seed they sow, the result of the 
choice they make, sweet crop from sweet seed, 
bitter crop from bitter seed. Thus He trains 


and teaches. Life is an education. If we 
observe the providential government of man by 
God in history, if we watch it within ourselves, 
if we study it in what are called the laws of 
nature, we shall see that God's treatment of 
men, both as nations and as individuals, is to 
this end, and is influenced by these principles ; 
and if we take it to the light of revelation, we 
shall see more clearly still that this is the 
method and nature of the Divine government. 

God, in short, is governing in accordance with 
His own nature. As that nature was in the 
beginning, it is now, and ever shall and must 
be, and God's acts are in accordance with that 
nature. That nature is love, and all God's pro- 
vidence must be interpreted by this key. His- 
tory is full of proofs that it is so. The history 
of man, from Adam to Jesus, is full of proofs in 
this direction, and still more have we proof that 
it is so in the life and death of Jesus Himself. 
From Adam's sin until the resurrection of Jesus 
we have nothing but manifestations of the love 
of God providing for the well-being and pro- 
gress of humanity. God is seen in the ordi- 


nary history of man, educating man to reject 
the evil and to choose the good. He is seen by 
the operations of ordinary law effecting the re- 
moval of sin and imperfection from His moral 
creation, teaching man's free will to choose the 
good without compulsion, and so to enter into 
rest. He marks his path at every step with 
flowers or thorns, as is need. But more espe- 
cially do we see this as the principle of the 
Divine government in the history of revela- 
tion. When man, yielding to the frailty of his 
nature, sinned and fell, we have nothing but 
astounding proofs of God's superintending love 
and care, from Abraham to Moses, and so on 
until it culminates in the death and resurrec- 
tion of our Lord Jesus Christ. But in Christ 
we have God not only forgiving, yet acting out 
the principle of our text, but making the prin- 
ciple so prominent and irreversible that in its 
operations He even does not spare Himself. In 
Christ He makes Himself the great example of 
its meaning and its permanence. Here He takes 
the penalty on Himself: He suffers for men, 
magnifying the law, and leading men to follow 


Him in His steps, magnifying the law even 
when He Himself is put under the wheels of its 
penalty. He comes into the lot of man, and 
accepts the conditions which man is under. In 
Jesus we see Him forgive sin, but it is not by 
dispensing with penalty — for as sin reigned from 
Adam to Moses, so it reigns from Christ until 
now — but by taking the penalty of our sin upon 
Himself, showing man to what sin leads, and 
leading man out of it and penalty itself, by lift- 
ing him up into a higher and better world, 
where penalty is not needed, because sin is no 
more, into doing the will of the Father from 
knowing the Father, into accepting all things 
which He gives, by knowing that they are good 
from knowing Him. He causes man to know 
God, and God as love, by the tremendous proof 
and pledge He gives of it in doing this thing, in 
letting in forgiveness through the sacrifice of 
Himself — that is, showing us God in such a way 
as to reconcile us to God. Is it a mystery to us 
that such things should be needed, and that 
such a creation should be ? No doubt there is a 
mystery. But there is no mystery in it to love. 


Those who love will see that a creation should 
be, and such as this, and that redemption follows, 
and as it is in Christ. The creature is fallible, 
and falls. Love interposes to lift it up. It does 
so at its own cost. If the fall is inevitable — as 
no doubt it is to creatures gifted with free 
will (and what other creatures could satisfy 
God ?) — so is their restoration ; for God is love. 
Does this character and condition take from 
God ? Is the father worse, whose son sins 
against him, who forgives him, and suffers ere 
he can forgive him ? A forgiveness which con- 
demns the sinner exalts the Saviour. 

A creature of limited intellect can only be 
taught by experience, and if his will is corrupt 
he can only be reconciled to law by unity with 
the Lawgiver, by realising that a law must be 
good which flows from one who is good. The 
proof is given in the life and death of Christ — a 
proof of love, a proof that law and its penalties 
are good. God does not change His laws even 
for His beloved Son. He subjects Him to their 
operation, and He also submits Himself to 
it, and says to men, "Be ye reconciled unto 


God." Christ magnifies the law. He reconciles 
us to the Lawgiver. He submits Himself to suf- 
fering and death as the wages of man's sin. He 
does so with painful loss to Himself. He shows 
men His hands and His side pierced for them 
— pierced by the inevitable operation of law 
— and He bids men follow in His steps. He 
says there is no exemption from law, yet no 
arbitrary punishment, nothing but working for 
good. * Be ye reconciled to law ; be one with 
me, the head and fountain of law, one with me 
and my law, and then it will be well with you, 
well with both of us, God and man, and in 
loving reverence ; otherwise, it is ill, and will be 
ill, ever growing worse/ The soul fighting with 
law, and away from law and its source, is 
desolate, is in everlasting destruction, is alone, 
alone off the line, living on its own flesh. Do 
we think that the sin of Adam was too se- 
verely punished? How could his punishment 
have been less ? What did he do ? He ran 
off the line of good. He took the fruit of a 
forbidden tree; it had no juice but its own. 
No other fate, no other consequence, could 


have followed. Law is invariable. We can- 
not give one consequence to the cause of 
another. We cannot give to the seed of one 
tree the fruit of another. We must submit to 
the ordinances of God from feeling that it is 
good to do so — submit from feeling that it is joy 
to do so. If we know that our lives and their 
circumstances are given and directed by the 
hand of God, it is well with us. If we see that 
all their arrangements are apportioned by Him, 
and given either as cordials to strengthen or 
punishments to bear, as we require, then it is 
well with us, and will be well. Thus only can 
we take punishment, which never is remitted; 
thus only can we get out of punishment, by 
rising into the region where punishment is un- 
known, because its lessons are not required from 
our being at one with God and His laws — one 
with God, and ever living on Divine food. For to 
this does God call us, and to nothing else — to be 
one with Himself. Such place and honour has 
He called us to, for " the manner of the love " 
which the Father has bestowed on us is to call 


us His sons, nothing other and nothing less ! 
Realising this, should we not live as sons \ 
Should we not take everything as from the hand 
of God ? So doing, it would be well with us ; we 
should overcome the world, and be delivered 
from all fear and evil. " For there is no real ill 
to one in such a case, as there is no real evil in 
life but that which arises from absence from 
God. There is no true sorrow to that man 
whose face is really turned to God; no misery in 
the world, nothing which makes either life or 
death full of calamity, but blindness and insensi- 
bility — insensibility to God and His laws. Every- 
thing which has in it aught of the nature of evil 
or distress may be traced to this source. For if 
a man knows that he comes into this world on 
no other errand but to rise out of time and its 
hindrances into eternity and its freedom, if he 
govern his inward thoughts and outward actions 
by this view of himself, every day loses its evil ; 
prosperity and adversity have no difference, for 
he receives and uses them both as part of the 
one way, and in the one spirit. Thus life and 


death are equally one, welcome because parts of 
the same road, the way of eternal life. Poor 
and miserable sis this life often is, yet we 
have all of us free access at all times to all 
that is great and good and happy, and ever 
carry within ourselves a key to all the treasures 
which Heaven has to bestow. Do we not too 
often, then, starve in the midst of plenty, and 
groan under infirmities when a remedy is in our 
hands? Too often we live and die without 
knowing or feeling anything of the true, the 
real, and the one only good, whilst we have the 
power to know and to enjoy it in our hands; for 
no doubt we might feel the powers of Heaven 
within us as much as we do the powers of 
this world without ; for Heaven (or the kingdom 
of the Spirit) is as near to our souls as the 
earth is to our bodies; and we were created 
and are redeemed to have our conversation 
there. God, the only good of all intelligent and 
moral natures, is not an absent or distant good, 
but is ever present. In Him we live and move 
and have our being, and at any time we are 
only strangers to Heaven, and without God in 


the world, for this reason, that we will not give 
ourselves to them." * 

We do not look where we can find, or do not 
look at all. Every man, more or less, lives in a 
dream, every man in his own particular dream 
— living, that is, in some particular way which 
takes up all his thoughts and acts, unconscious 
of the great highway and world which lies 
beside him, of which his dream is no part, on 
which he is not walking, and is therefore perish- 
ing from the right way. For the eternity which 
is before such an one, and in which, in fact, 
he now is, is no part of such a life and way. 
The eternal life, of which we are bid to lay hold, 
is not this life ; such an one, therefore, is losing 
time and eternity both. The short-sighted life 
which he is living has neither fruit here nor 
root beyond ; it is only temporary and full of 
trouble. The true life can only be had by seeking 
and finding what the will of the Lord is, and 
conforming ourselves thereto. This is the object 

* From the Rev. W. Law's " Spirit of Prayer," as is a previously 
quoted passage — a book, as all Mr. Law's works, far too little 
known in our days. 


of our birth here, and God's purpose in it. As 
we choose we have. We may have an eternal 
life with God, or an eternal death with the 
fallen angels ; and we are fitting ourselves for 
the one or for the other, just as we are here 
seeking and finding the will of God, or seeking 
and finding our own. God desires, and is 
arranging for, the first ; He hates, and is trying 
to prevent, our choosing the other. He attaches 
prizes to the one and penalties to the other, 
joy to a true choice and sorrow to a false. He 
gives us exercises that we may choose. He gives 
prizes, He gives penalties, He tells us when we 
err, He seeks to -deter us from again erring. 
He takes vengeance on our inventions. Would 
we that it were not so, and that there were no 
penalties ? We read of men in intoxication 
falling asleep by a fire, and not aware that their 
limbs had been burnt off until they came to 
themselves. Would we like it to be so with us, 
and that our souls were lost because no pain 
had been attached to transgression? Is God 
more or less good because of inflicting penalty, 
because this is the method of the Divine go- 



vernment ? Surely more. God is love, and 
God is one. His dealings are ever regulated by 
the same principles; from the same Fountain 
proceedeth not sweet water and bitter. If the 
water seem bitter, it is medicinal. God forgives ; 
but He " will by no means clear the guilty " — 
that is, never allows sin to be a light thing. It 
would not be love were He so to do. It is right ; 
it is inevitable. If it is ruinous in physical or 
mechanical law, transgression is equally so in 
spiritual or moral. God, therefore, never dis- 
penses with penalty as its cure. Even the 
restoration of man in Christ does not dispense 
with penalty, as we have seen. The sentence 
on Adam of death, as the wages of sin, is still 
fulfilled, we know, to the letter. Death still 
reigns, and death must and will reign so long as 
sin reigns. But the promise to Adam is not 
forgotten. God has not failed in His promise. 
Only it is fulfilled not by the abolishing of 
penalty, but in a more excellent way, by the 
bringing in of a higher life by death, "that 
through death He might destroy him that had 
the power of death " — that is, by Christ's death 


wean man from transgression, and so abolish 
penalty and death for ever. Christ vanquishes 
death by dying, and putting an end to sin brings 
in an everlasting righteousness. 

God forgives, but He cures by penalty. His 
forgiveness takes the form of remedy, and that 
one often of pain ; but it is needful for our good. 
Thus it is, because He knows it is needed. It is 
needed for the creature's good. Sin is self-de- 
structive. It is made so by God — by God, who 
loves us as none other can, and knows us as 
none other does. He made us, and not we our- 
selves. He is far from despising or forgetting 
the work of His own hands. There is none 
nearer, let there be none dearer to us, than God. 
No one can understand or enter into our states 
like God, none do so much for us, none feel so 
much. " I have surely heard Ephraim bemoan- 
ing himself," He says. Yes, when we think that 
there is none hearing or caring, God is hearing 
and caring for us. He heard the Israelites in 
Egypt, and brought them out with a mighty 

We are tried and chastised, we say. Yea, He 



tries and chastises ; it is He who does so. But 
He has an end in view, a good and a high 
end. If we understood and believed this, we 
should have rest upon the way. It is a long 
way, a long education, that for eternal glory 
and joy. We see not the end — we scarce see 
the way. We are impatient because our time is 
limited. " But," says King David, " it is mine 
own infirmity. I will remember the years of 
the right hand of the Most High." He remem- 
bered God's eternity, His seeing the end of 
things. We are so impatient, so hurried, be- 
cause our time is short; so blind, because we 


can see but little of the way. But it is not so 
with God. He sees the end from the beginning ; 
He has the end in view, and is arranging for it. 
He is therefore not hurried. Let us remember 
this, and wait upon God, seeking His way, taking 
what He sends us, trying to understand its mean- 
ing, and to receive it into ourselves ; and it will 
be well with us. So shall we get out of impa- 
tience, of fear, of despair ; so the night will lead 
to the morning, and the winter to the spring ; 
and as in the night we rest, and in the winter the 



spring buds are being formed, and as it is the 
cutting and friction which make the brilliancy of 
the diamond, so it is, and will be, with us, and 
therefore it is that often we are so sorely tried, 
and touched where we are most sensitive ; for the 
will of God is our perfection, and that all should 
shine as the stars. 

But at times we have hard thoughts of God. 
A little one has hard thoughts of his father when 


he takes him into a room to punish him. He 
thinks there is no reason, nothing which might 
not be forgiven without chastisement, nothing 
which words or exhortation would not put right. 
He wonders, perhaps, at the hardness of his 
father's heart, how he could be so cruel. Yet, 
did he see the cause, and the end of the chastise- 
ment, he would cease to wonder. And did man 
see the hardness of his own heart, the progress of 
iniquity within himself, the misery of the end to 
which it is bringing him, and the inevitable 
destruction to which sin leads ; did he see how 
clearly his Father (and that a Divine Father) 
knows this, and the end to which correction 
will bring, the noble character which it will 


produce, which would not be his without its 
aid; did he know and believe that every 
pang inflicted goes to the Father's heart, that 
" in all our afflictions He is afflicted," even as 
Jesus weeps over Lazarus, whom He is about 
to raise ; — he would be at rest and accept the 
ways of God, and believe that He doeth all 
things well, that affliction is needed, that God 
does right in appointing it, and that, while for- 
giving sinners, it is best that at the same time 
He should punish their inventions, so that they 
may know the right way, and that there is but 
one right, and that the way of God — of God who 
has and can have no other end in the govern- 
ment of His creatures but their good, in believ- 
ing and realising which they would have peace, 
closing with His will, and saying, " Whom have 
I in Heaven but thee ? and there is none upon 
earth whom I desire in comparison of thee." 
" Search me, O God, and know my heart ; try 
me, and know my thoughts ; and see if there be 
any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way 
everlasting." The highest end is no doubt the 
intended destiny of the creature ; to which may 


all, in God's infinite mercy, come through the 
grace and method which is in Christ Jesus ! 

God punishes our inventions until we find 
that they are inventions and not the true way 
of life ; until we find that the life of the flesh, 
however natural it may be to a lower creature, 
is not the proper life for one formed in and 
capable of the image of God ; that the life 
of the flesh, when it is — as, alas, it too often 
is — carried out by a man beyond the lines of 
the beasts that (as we are apt to say) perish, 
set in opposition to the law of God or the spirit 
of true life, has and can have but one end, 
viz., destruction ; and that punishment must re- 
main on sin until the true life be chosen — an 
ordinance evidential of the wise and just and 
loving character of the government of God. 
Let us understand and choose this, and count 
the time past of our life more than sufficient to 
have wrought the will of the flesh. " The Spirit 
and the Bride say, Come," they invite and say 
that all things are now ready. May we also 
be ready, and say, "Come, Lord Jesus," come 
quickly, take away my own will, and give me 


Thine ; the will which took the Father's way, 
and found it good because it was the Father's. 
Yes, the Regenerator and Liberator of the spirit, 
Jesus, in His sacrifice of Himself, shows us the 
true way. He bears our iniquities and carries 
our sorrows, and by His stripes we are healed. 
He reconciles us to the will of God, what- 
ever it may be, showing us that it is good, 
because from God; showing us that when 
penalty falls on the innocent man — as often it 
does on those who have not sinned after the 
similitude of Adam's transgression, mixed up, 
as we all are, one with another, so that our vices 
and virtues cannot but affect our neighbours — 
the will of God is good, and to be accepted as 
ours, and the cup drunk, even if we ourselves 
have not mixed it, to be taken because given by 
Him. Following this path we shall infallibly 
prosper, and be ever victorious. When sin 
abounds, grace we shall find is yet too much 
for it, evil ever being overcome with good ; for 
evil is not eternal, and ever yields before grace. 
Taking our nature and becoming our Head, 
Christ will efface the old Adam in us, if we 


will allow Him. And so mighty is love, and 
so different the ends of the two natures, that 
" as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall 
be made alive" — all who tread in His steps, 
all who accept the wages of sin as due, and take 
God's punishments with His forgiveness, His 
vengeance in His pardon, seeing the face of the 
Father equally in both, and saying in them 
both: — "Though He slay me, yet will I trust 
in Him." " Abba, Father." " Even so, Father, 
for so it seemed good in Thy sight." Amen. 



" I have smitten you with blasting and mildew : when your gar- 
dens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees 
increased, the palmer- worm devoured them : yet have ye not 
returned unto me." — Amos iv. 9. 

T N this verse we have some further glimpses 
of the object and method of the Divine 
government ; that it is conducted on prin- 
ciples which achieve their end by laws and 
methods which convey their sanctions within 
themselves, while still it is God Himself 
who both gives and controls these laws. 
That the laws are good, even when they 
are most severe in their operation, we are 
bound to believe, not only from the necessity 
of their being in consonance with the character 
of God Himself, but because their object is 
correction, not destruction. God rules by law, 
and from the operation of His laws there is no 


discharge ; but the object is good, and, there- 
fore there ought to be no discharge. God's 
object is not to remove penalty from sin — that 
is, suffering from transgression; His object is 
to raise us above penalty, by giving us unity 
and fellowship with His laws and Himself — 
above the region where penalty can come in. 

It is said in our text, " I have smitten thee." 
God does not separate Himself from His laws. 
Blasting and mildew act by law ; still it is God 
who is the operator. He is one, or at one, with 
His laws. He does not suspend them because 
they are one with Himself; they are good, and 
He is the maintenance of all that is good. " He 
is unchangeable ; therefore, if there is change, it 
is not change in Him, but in the creature, which, 
falling out of law and good, creates disturbance, 
which is rectified by an avenging law. The 
rectification is often accomplished with pain 
and suffering, the concomitants of the broken 
law; by mildew and of canker; but the end 
is one, although the operation varies, and is 
painful or pleasurable as the case may be, but 
always good as being from God. 


We cannot doubt that if God be good His 
laws are good ; for they must be in accordance 
with Himself and His own nature. We cannot 
doubt that creation began in good, and that as 
it began so it must continue : for God is un- 
changeable. What God is, that He always is ; 
and that which He is, revelation, reason, and 
our own hearts tell us to be one thing; 
which is love. God need not and would not 
have gone out of Himself to create, had not 
this been the case. He created and creates 
from one motive ; and He must ever con- 
tinue in the same aspect and relation to His 
creation throughout eternity. "God" (as well 
says William Law, from whom again we 
borrow) " is an unbeginning, never-ending, 
never-ceasing, and ever-flowing ocean of 
love." "All this creation, through its height 
and depth, in all its variety of working and 
power, is but a manifestation of the invisible 
power, glory, and goodness of the Creator, or 
God becoming sensible or visible in His works. 
All the multitude of creatures, in their infinite 
variety, degrees, and capacities, are only so 


many speaking figures and living forms of the 
manifold riches and power of God — so many 
sounds, voices, shows, and exhibitions of that 
Divine Being whose love gave birth and life to 
all of them. Every creature now and through- 
out eternity has its place and form only to 
manifest, and rejoice in some share of, the love 
and happiness and goodness of the Deity. This 


is the one will and work of God in and through 
creation. From the beginning to the end it is 
the same. As He began in love, He must 
continue in love to the end. He can never will 
or intend anything towards His creatures, in 
them or by them, but only communications of 
His own goodness and felicity. This is the 
unchangeable nature and disposition of God." 

There are no meaningless providences with 
God. He is ever acting for the well-being of 
His creature. When His intelligent offspring 
violates law, He deals with it by the operation 
of remedial law, as it requires. God often has, 
therefore, to rectify and to raise His creature 
by the introduction of remedies and stimulants, 
which are accompanied with pain, to set their 


dislocations and to remove spiritual diseases 
which would end in apathy and death. This 
is the explanation of much of His dealing, which 
at times terrifies and alarms us both as to 
individuals and nations. We should examine 
such cases, and endeavour to see and to profit 
by the meaning. Often, too, Divine Providence 
has to arouse us to the fact of there being 
something beyond ourselves and the ordinary 
routine, as we term it, of nature, by signs and 
startling occurrences, lest we fall down to the 
belief that there is nothing beyond ourselves. 
Our text, which sets forth a condition of old 
similar to that which is now present in some 
neighbouring nations, points in the same direc- 
tion. We should look for and find the meaning 
of these dealings. If we do not, and do not see 
the hand of God in them, we shall be apt to fall 
either into recklessness or despair. 

The Prophet Amos tells us that such things 
are in the providence of God, and he shows 
us the meaning of these judgments of God, 
explaining that, however dreadful they seem, 
their meaning is good and not evil ; that they 


are for correction, and not destruction : — " I have 
smitten you with blasting and mildew .... 
yet ye have not returned unto me, saith the 
Lord." The meaning of the visitation was re- 
storation — a restoration of health and unity ; in 
short, the well-being of God's intelligent crea- 
tion. God acted thus to awaken, to arouse, to 
amend, and to elevate it, so that it should attain 
a sufficient, safe position. Man is to become 
partaker of the Divine nature. To effect this, 
God sends messengers suited to the work, to 
break down that which is evil, to drive it out, to 
strengthen the good, and to invigorate the soul, 
until it rises into its true image — the height, 
after its measure, of the Divine likeness. And 
how much is needfiil too often ere this can be 
effected, until the poor creature is driven out of 
its sad self to take refuge in God, which yet is 
its highest privilege and greatest possession ! 
Often He has to place the creature in painful 
positions to effect this end. He makes it " sub- 
ject to vanity " — that is, He gives it to know what 
emptiness is, what mere trust in self is, until it is 
drawn out of this to have faith in Him. God 


deals with the soul as a good physician does 
with the body. Nay, at times, He becomes to it 
a consuming fire. He brings His laws of fire 
and blasting to bear upon it. He orders bitter 
and sour, as well as cordials. He calls into 
operation unpleasant things, as does the earthly 
physician. He orders them for our benefit and 
improvement. He does so from love; because 
He is love, He is good, and never more 
good than in doing this. He is unchangeable. 
It would be a change for the worse were He to 
do other than this — a change impossible with 
God. He suits His measures to the need. He 
has health for the result. He gives greater or 
less amount of medicine, as greater or less is 
required. At first He begins with lesser, but if 
greater be needed He does not hesitate to 
send it, ever having one object in view, the 
well-being of the patient. God does not, so to 
speak, come into direct and arbitrary dealing; 
step by step He employs instruments, agents, 
means ; although, as He Himself is not severed 
from these, it is true in all cases that it is God 
Himself who is acting. All the elements of 


nature are only so many outward materials in 
the hands of God, formed and mixed into heat 
or cold, into fruitful or pestilential effects ; into 
the serenity of the sunshine or blasting tem- 
pests; into means of health or sickness, of 
plenty or poverty, just as the wisdom and good- 
ness of God sees to be most fit for man, and 
most suited for raising his earthly into a 
heavenly condition. Therefore we read that 
"Whom the Lord loveth He chastened!," 
chasteneth that he may become a partaker of 
His holiness. His tender mercies are over all 
His works; but they are expressed in different 
ways, and often, to us, do not seem tender. He 
uses the elements of nature as the infirmities of 

all His creatures, and of man particularly, re- 


quire. It is Omnipotent love doing all which is 
required for fallen man to restore him, just as a 
kind and watchful earthly parent or physician 
does with his son or patient. 

Sometimes we doubt this, because we do not 
see the end ; if we saw the end, we should not 
doubt. Neither should we sin, and act so as to 
require the mildew and palmer-worm, did we 


know or remember what God is doing, and what 
His objects ever are. Sodom is cut down in its 
sins, and the world before Noah perishes, and 
Pharaoh is drowned in the Red Sea ; but all this, 
we may be sure, was to save them from a deeper 
destruction, and to prevent worse calamities. 
And so says the Psalmist: "Thou, Lord, art 
merciful, for Thou rewardest every man accord- 
ing to his work." (Ps. lxii. 12, Prayer Book 
Version). He ever gives to man the fruit of the 
seed he sows, that man may learn to sow good 

We have gained a great step in spiritual 
things, and in knowledge of the method of the 
Divine government, when we have come so far 
as this ; a great step, towards the regulation of 
our own lives — a step, too, towards peace and 
safety ; and we are on the way to the true life. 
While we see that the words of our text are full 
of terrible things, yet we see that God has no 
will in them but to bless fallen man, by doing 
such things as will turn him from iniquity. This 
He is equally doing whether He turns the air 
into a pestilence, or makes it rain down manna 


—for both are equally done for the same pur- 
pose of blessing, suited to the time, place, 
and occasion — so that man may come to God, 
and rise out of the evil and misery of sin. 
The experience of our lives teaches us that 
such is the purpose of God; the testimony of 
the oldest, the best, and wisest, says that it is 
so ; and the declarations of Holy Scripture in a 
thousand places confirm the experience. But 
above all it is sealed to us as a fact — and shown 
to be infinitely true that love is at the bottom 
of it all — in the life and death of Christ, the 
anointed Saviour. 

In the astonishing proof of God's love and 
wisdom, which we have in Christ and His work, 
we are lost in awe and reverence ; and this the 
more that we consider it. Yet is this but another 
though deeper form of that same love which 
meets us in a thousand shapes in every turn of 
life — in light and darkness, in day and night, 
fire and water, in storm and tempest, all of 
which in their various ways are a fulfilling of 
God's love. In all the aspects of nature the 
supernatural deity is willing and seeking but 


the restoration and reunion of man's fallen 
nature with Himself. All the bitters of our cup, 
we may be sure, are under the charge of a skil- 
ful and loving Physician, of a wise and careful 
Teacher, who is educating us for eternity. We 
are in the bosom of a good Shepherd, who says 
that rather He Himself than his little ones should 
perish. He who made the earth, and "hath 
measured the waters in the hollow of His hand," 
knows no doubt how to carry us in safety, and is 
able to do so. The Great Husbandman knows 
what is needed, and prunes his vine as it re- 
quires, that it may yield more fruit. And He 
does this Himself. He uses means, no doubt, 
but it is He Himself who uses them. He ap- 
points no deputy who is not under His own eye, 
because no deputy is sure or tender enough 
to be trusted. God would bring us very near 
unto Himself, and His dealings are therefore 
searching and close ; and, as much true humility 
is needful for coming close to God, so He teaches 
us first to know how we can only have it by 
recognising, that is, by receiving. Humility is 
the first step to grow rich. We must first realise 



our own emptiness, and that we are but creatures, 
ere we can be filled with the fulness of God. 
Let us ever remember what we really are, and 
receive God's dealings with awe and reverence, 
and then we shall be in the way to greater 
things. Let us remember that we are but the 
children of a day, and that His years are from 
eternity to eternity; that thence He makes us 
and sees us, and has our paths before Him— our 
beginning and our end. Let us not then fret, 
nor weary, nor repine. All this is an under- 
valuing and accusing of God. Does He not 
know and feel for our needs ? Are not all our 
lives, our ways, our wants, our desires, our 
sorrows, ever before Him? Does he not feel? 
He says, ' I saw thy attempt to serve me — that 
feeble attempt. True, it failed ; but I take the 
will for the deed.' " Fear not," He says ; " I am 
with thee." " Fear not, thou worm Jacob "-r-that 
is, ' Though you feel as creatures of the dust, 
yet be strong in me; I the Lord gave you 
birth; you are mine; your origin is Divine. 
You are my children ; I am your everlasting 
Father ; and I am with you.' No doubt, the 


way is often hard, and the world a wilderness 
to us. But here we are to receive indispen- 
sable lessons — indispensable, and not to be 
learnt elsewhere. True, they are elementary, 
but yet needful lessons. This is the school in 
which our Father has placed us — our first school, 
the rudimentary school. If we could do without 
it, we should not be here. If we could be taken 
at once to Heaven, we should be ; but Heaven 
is attained by degrees, and we must have a 
beginning. Heaven is but the product of life 
— of a life of training and education, of choosing 
the good and refusing the evil. It cannot other- 
wise be got ; it does not otherwise exist. 

We are here that we may have it ; this is 
our first stage. God puts us here mid rough 
and rude elementary temporary things, only 
that we may rise out of them, yet by means of 
them, into another and higher condition, into 
which, for creatures such as we are, these 
things lead. Here we are on the way ; here we 
know good and evil, but as yet we have not 
chosen the good. We are in God's hand to 
learn to do so. This is God's w r orld, and we are 


here to learn a lesson. We are here for a purpose, 
and when that is accomplished we shall be 
taken hence. We are not to rest here. We 
cannot do so, even when the world seems good. 
It is transitory ; we must seek the eternal. Like 
Abraham, although in a land of promise, in a 
country which is God's, we yet must look to 
something more — another and better country 
beyond ; a higher inheritance ; a city which 
hath foundations — that is, to God Himself. 
We are but on a road ; it is transitory ; this 
is a wilderness; but, depend upon it, no one 
will be able to say throughout eternity that he 
was a moment longer in the wilderness than 
there was need for. 

Let us not despond. Despondency is ever an 
undervaluing of God. Why should we doubt ? 
Are we not God's offspring, the creatures of His 
hands ? He made us, and not we ourselves ; 
cannot we believe that He is taking care, and 
will take care, of us ? Surely He is able, surely 
.He is willing, to give us all things for which we 
have capacity. And how great is that capacity ! 
For has He not made us in the likeness of Him- 


self — our Father and our God ? Is not this 
enough ? To this He is bringing us by every 
needful means — and all means are in His power 
— but we are not judges of the necessary means. 
" Thy hands have made me and fashioned me," 
says the Psalmist ; " give me understanding, that 
I may learn Thy commandments." And is He not 
giving us understanding ? But how can this be 
done save through experience of the nature of 
things ? Accordingly, by His Providence, by 
His word, by His cloud, by His sunshine, by the 
world's opposition, by our losses and by our 
crosses, by our hopes and fruitions, He teaches ; 
He ever goes on teaching ; and, blessed be His 
name, He will go on until the end be accom- 
plished — the good end; for no time can alter His 
relationship and His goodwill towards us; we 
can never cease to be His children, or He our 
Father. Beyond doubt He is our Father ; He is 
our true Father. God is our Father, and what- 
ever is meant by that name. He is to us a 
Father, and a perfect Father — a Father everlast- 
ing, ever a Father. As He was in the begin- 
ning, He is now, and ever shall be, in the same 


relation to us. Life, death, can make no altera- 
tion in this relationship. In life, at death, after 
death, He is equally the same, and our Father. 
Yea, even beyond the shores of death we do not 
go unto a strange country, for our Father still is 
there, and we are in our Father's house ; we go 
to God, who will deal with us still as a Father, in 
whatever we require, whatever that may be. No 
time, no space, can destroy this relationship. 
Surely it is life and health, victory and eternal 
life, to believe this. Just as we believe this 
we have victory and life, and as we fall out of 
this belief we perish. This is the Catholic faith ; 
may we cherish it as our hope, our strength. 
It is our refuge in the day of trouble, and our 
only security in our day of joy, that God is 
our Father, not giving us our deserts, but what 
our nature requires. It is true that we are 


sinners, and sin debars us from nearness to God. 
Sin is hateful unto God, if not to us. Most true 
it is that God hates sin, and is separate from it. 
Yet He does not hate us. He loves ourselves, 
though not our sin ; and, because He loves us, 
He will cleanse us from sin. It is our hope 



and trust, and now He is taking the means to it, 
whatever means are required. 

Here indeed we are often long in the wilder- 
ness, because we are slow to learn the true good. 
But even here — and surely when we remember 
who put us here there is everything to assure us — 
the everlasting arms are around us ; and What 
want we more ? In all dark and rough places a 
loving eye is ever over us, and a loving heart 
near, and a helping hand. But it is everything 
to know and to realise this. It makes no differ- 
ence in the fact, but it makes every difference to 
our mental condition. And therefore it is that 
the Gospel is preached unto us. Knowledge 
does not alter the facts of life or remove our 
trials ; but it gives us that which enables us to 


triumph over circumstances, and takes the sting 
out of trial, when it is such knowledge as is 
contained in the Gospel. There God manifests 
what He is, and seals Himself to us as God, by 
a seal of which, though . we may reject it, we 
cannot deny the meaning. He gives us to know 
Himself in Christ, and by this knowledge puts 
into our hands the victory over all things. In 


Christ He says, " Behold me ! behold me ! " 
" Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my 
side ;" "Doth a fountain send forth at the same 
place sweet water and bitter ? " If the water of 
your life is bitter, believe that it is medicinal. 
To this all the wounds of Christ cry out, 
"Amen." It is everything to realise this. All 
things thus acquire their true value — our bless- 
ings and what we call our curses — our bless- 
ings valued as a way to something higher and 
better, and our curses as but pricks and goads 
to hasten us to a better inheritance. We have 
to realise that life is an education, conducted 
for us by a wise and loving God, and also that 
it is more than an education — that it is the 
thing itself for which the education is intended 
and given, namely, participation in the holy 
and, because holy, blessed nature of our 

What we have mainly to learn is to enter into 
the purposes of God, to realise the mind of God, 
especially as to sin ; that as to sin, we are to be 
ever against it, and ever in sympathy with holi- 
ness and God ; that we are ever to have fellow- 


ship with the Father, and that if we have the 


mind of Christ we shall have this fellowship. 
Alas ! how long we are in realising the true 
nature of sin or the true nature of the Father ; 
that sin is a disease destructive of ourselves, 
which, if unchecked, would destroy creation ; 
and that to understand this we must have 
the mind of Christ ! Little do any of us know 
what is the meaning of sin ; none of us but as 
he enters into the spirit of Christ, the spirit of 
the Son of God. Could we enter into its mean- 
ing by entering into its power, as when in 
the hiding of the Father's face it elicited from 
Him the bitter cry, "My God, my God, why 
hast Thou forsaken me ? " we should come to 
regard it with greater fear and loathing than we 
do. Could we regard its relations as being to the 
soul that which a cancer is to the body, our first 
prayer would no doubt ever be, " Search me, O 
God, and try my heart, and see if there be any 
wicked way in me, and lead me in the way ever- 
lasting." Could we see it as the Psalmist saw 
it when he cried, " Rivers of waters run down 
mine eyes because men keep not Thy law ;" 


could we feel the real meaning and power of it r 
as summed up in one of the pitying tears of 
Jesus at Jerusalem, or at the grave of Lazarus 
with the sisters, we should be cured of light 
views regarding it, of dallying with it, of excus- 
ing it. Let us see to this. Looking at Christ 
upon the cross, we behold the wages of sin — how 
it enters there into the very soul, so to speak, 
of the Most High Himself. For however 
mysterious it may be that God should suffer, 
and however needful it was for the cankerworm 
and the locust to devour, so that man might be 
saved, the cross shows how terrible the process 
is, even to the Divine mind. If, I say, we studied 
and understood this, it would be well for us ; well, 
if the iron of this teaching entered into our own 
souls ; well, because the object of the teaching 
would be effected : we should be saved from sin, 
united to God, and filled with the peaceable 
fruits of righteousness ; we should be at peace, 
and rejoice in God. 

Happy are we if we are on this, the true path. 
For when once we realise the blessedness and 
peace of being at one with God, what a future is 


before us ! We are at the entrance of Heaven ; 
" paradise is opening up before us with all its 
properties and powers, all the riches and glories 
of God Himself. God is ever making His crea- 
tion to break forth, and spring up, and give new 
forms arid revelations of His own goodness and 
beauty." * Then are we in the right way to see 
the manifold wonders of God, and have the 
key to their meaning and power ; " we experi- 
ence eternal apprehensions of sensations of the 
Divinity; we are able to see, and feel, and taste, 
and handle varied and ever new kinds of delight 
from an inexhaustible fountain of changing and 
never-ceasing wonders of Divine glory. An 
eternity of this is opening up — an eternity for 
which our souls were created. What are 
earthly ambitions compared to this ? Let us 
bear with patience the rags of an inferior na- 
ture here, the veils and darkness of the fallen 
flesh, the lot of our inheritance as children of 
Adam, and take with gladness all God's me- 
thods of raising it up, thinking nothing worthy 
of a thought but that which will bring us 

* Law. 


soonest to the Divine fulfilment, and land 
us quickest and safest in the eternal man- 

Let us dwell in the mind and will of Christ ; 
let us seek to apprehend that for which we were 
apprehended of Him — that we may "know 
Him " and have fellowship in His sufferings and 
conformity to His death, receiving all things as 
from the Father, even as He did, and counting 
them good because from Him, as sent for a 
good purpose, though not good in themselves ; 
so that if any cup we fear and dislike be not 
taken away, it may be good in our sight, as 
in the sight of Him who said, " Even so, Father, 
for so it seemed good in Thy sight" — good, if 
even as locusts, and mildew, and canker, if it 
have the effect, as was intended, of bringing and 
keeping us close to God. It is but the realisa- 
tion that God's will should be done, and not 
our own; that His kingdom shall come, and 
His name be hallowed by every means needful 
which He sees right to adopt. Amen. 

* Law. 


" We are saved by hope." — Rom. viii. 24. 

/^* OD'S government of the world is now going 
on ; and it is good. We can only be 
saved by believing this. This world is as much 
under God's government as the next world. It 
is the same God; and the same government; 
and both are good. As a rule, we see every one 
rewarded according to his works. As a man 
sows he reaps. On the whole, life is a blessing 
here; and we cannot doubt that the course of 
God's government over all is good. 

No doubt some evil men prosper, and some- 
times vice is triumphant ; and there are catas- 
trophes — sudden and dreadful catastrophes, as 
when Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake, 
and the Northfleet went down at her anchors, 


and almost four hundred people in the one case, 
and forty thousand in the other, perished in a 
moment. But these things are not the rule ; 
they are the exceptions. How many thousands 
of cottagers sleep securely for one king who is 
dethroned ! How many ships sail safely for 
one which is cast away ! These things — sudden 
catastrophes at any rate — are but the gathering 
into a focus of that which, spread out, ever 
exists. The sinking of the Northfleet gave no 
greater amount of sorrow and suffering than 
that which daily occurs within a week in a large 
city. But it was gathered into one point, and 
was therefore more appalling ; yet even so, by 
the very interest it aroused, proving that suffer- 
ing is the exception rather than the rule. And 
as to death, come when or how it may, it even- 
tually swallows up ajl. Without it there would 
be no progress, no possibility of a better world, 
perhaps no true life. 

But it will be said : i Why make such a 
world at all?' Because it is good, and no 
doubt the only possible way to at least moral 


' It is very easy to say all that, sitting on the 
shore, or in good health/ you may say ; ' but it 
would be very different if you were going down 
in the ship or dying of disease.' 

No doubt. But then comes in the Gospel to 
aid our observation of life in general. It teaches 
us (and the rule of God's good providence 
teaches us) to be so grounded and settled, when 
we are well, and safe on the shore, in the belief 
of the good character and providence of God, 
that when the evil days do come, as come they 
must, we may not be terrified or overcome by 
them ; that we may not have to look for our 
weapons when the battle has begun. 

God's providence and Christ's revelation 
both tell us that God is good, and that by 
means of believing this we may be saved ; that 
by believing this we may be delivered at least 
from fear, and also gain that which otherwise 
would not have been ours. We are to be saved 
by hope, by faith, by trust that God is good, and 
ever doing good — not exceptionally, but as a 
rule. This is the main drift of our blessed 
Lord's teaching. In a certain sense it is true 


that "one event happeneth to all," the pro- 
vidence of good not altering the laws of circum- 
stance, and all having to come under the grave 
and gate of death. But that the government of 
God is good, is the main tenor of our blessed 
Lord's teaching. He ever appeals to the evident 
benignity of the general government of God, 
and discourages our arguing from exceptions or 
requiring miracles to raise a belief in God's 
goodness or favour. And truly if God be not 
recognised already by what He is, and in what 
we experience and are conscious of, it does not 
seem possible that He can be made known 
at all. 

We must, therefore, settle ourselves in the firm 
belief of the goodness of the government of God, 
that when the evil days come we may be able 
from the heart to say, " Even so, Father, for so 
it seemed good in Thy sight." I do not mean 
that we should not pray ; nor do I believe that 
by prayer we cannot alter anything in the 
government of God or the reign of law ; I be- 
lieve we can, and I believe we do. I think 
in this, however, we should always say, "If 


it be possible," that is, " if it be good ; " but as 
to what God does we should ever be at rest. 
As to the propriety and power of prayer we need 
surely go no farther than the example of our 
blessed Lord, who Himself prayed always. 
Whatever prayer can do or is, there can there- 
fore be no question of its need and importance 
to a Christian. But apart from this, what we 
are to be saved by is TRUST, not by having, 
but believing. And this attitude is not one 
which is confined to this lower sphere, but is, 
and must be, the rule of all the spheres. 
Angels must live by and be saved by faith, just 
as men by the same means — the same kind of 
faith, though different in degree ; for no creature 
can exhaust or comprehend all the ways and 
purposes of God ; all creatures must live, there- 
fore, and be saved in the same manner ; that is, 
live by faith, and be saved by their belief in what 
God is ; that He is good, that all His outgoings, 
whatever appearance they may at times assume 
to the contrary, must be good. In some sense 
this is the highest possible life, a higher life than 
that of sight, for it infers a higher confidence, 



a more heroic dependence. "Blessed are they 
who have not seen and yet have believed." 

And yet faith is not the thing itself. It is but 
a means. There is something which is the 
object of faith, and that is the thing itself, and 
it is that for which we trust and hope ; and the 
expectation of it is the cause of our faith and 
hope. What that is which we hope for will 
depend much upon our spiritual vision — the 
spiritual state, that is, wherein we are, and to 
which we have attained. Sight in some sort 
describes it, but is not the thing itself. Nor 
can mere sight give it — not, that is, in the 
highest sense. It may give again those we have 
loved and lost, but it cannot give those higher 
conditions of spiritual vision to which we feel we 
can attain, nor the very things we mean by our 
friends themselves. Nor can it give us Christ 
Himself. For of Him it may be said, as of the 
others in their degree, that we know not what 
we ask when it is sight we demand ; for is not 
this but to know Him after the flesh ? The 
vision must be internal as well as external ; for 
when the Lord said He went away to prepare a 


place for His disciples, His meaning was that 
time was required for the preparation of them 
to behold as well as of that which was to be 
beholden. As the eye must bring with it that 
with which it is to see in spiritual things, 
its preparation is requisite ere it can behold 
them. We see this daily. An unread man, for 
example, will see on the plains of Marathon 
some fields and hedges and surrounding hills; 
a scholar will see the Greeks and Persians, 
Miltiades and Artaphernes. And that heavenly 
kingdom, which Christ is gone to prepare and 
we are to see, requires as much preparation on 
the part of its heirs ere they can behold it as the 
natural and historical scenery, Christ is already 
come in a degree to some, and is seen now by 
them where two or three are gathered together 
in His name ; and His presence is felt where in a 
Holy Communion His disciples are met together 
at His table. To others there is but the bread 
and wine ; to the prepared eye there is the body 
and blood of the Lord — a spiritual presence 
spiritually discerned. 
No doubt the second advent is also more than 


this. But it is just that more which cannot be 
fully given us without the passage through the 
gate of death. Life on our part is but one long 
getting ready for this, and the agent of prepara- 
tion is faith — faith in God as seen in ordinary- 
nature, and as seen in the revelation by Christ. 
It is by the exercise of faith that the fitness 
and power come by which we are to, and 
now do, enter into the kingdom of God ; which 
must and does consist, not in what He gives 
us but in what He is Himself, not in any 
aspect but in the fount from which the overflow 
comes. Faith saves us from fear of circum- 
stances because it rests us on the foundation of 
all circumstances, and brings us into that which 
no circumstances can give or take away, that 
which is good in all we have, that which purifies 
it from what is evil, and, indeed, gives us the 
real from which the ideal flows. No doubt 
there is a progress by thus realising, and we 
come as we realise into higher visions of God, 
until our elementary faith seems to us but as the 
unreasoning faith of infants, good indeed so far 
as it goes, but only good when it is getting what 


it wants, whereas the higher faith is equally good 
while we get not what we want, but by patience 
wait for it, and are saved by hope. And who 
— that has at all walked in this path and gone 
any way in it — has not felt not only that evil is 

overcome of good, but that the very evil itself 
has been turned into a blessing ? Yet it is now 
and then a hard strain on faith. How often we 
have but the seed, and the crop is not seen ; 
prayer vanishes in air; we sigh and have 
nothing. Our bread is cast upon the waters, 
and we do not find it again even after many 
days. We want those we have loved and lost — 
the absent, the estranged. If our lives are hid 
with Christ in God, Christ also seems hidden from 
us. Eighteen hundred years ago He was here, 
they say. They saw Him ; we believe it ; we 
have the words of His mouth. We quite appre- 
hend all this. But yet we should like more — our 
eyes to behold Him, and not another. " To be 
with Christ is far better," surely ? Yes, but 
the preparation ? For He is not now alto- 
gether as He then was. He is to appear in 
glory ; and to see Him as He is, we must be 


prepared — be, in short, in the element wherein 
He is to appear; to see Him as He is, in a 
measure we must first be as He is. Much 
has to be done. He has gone "to prepare a 
place." But of what sort ? It is not to be a 
scenic representation, a theatrical show; the 
spiritual world has no such sights and sounds. 
It is a realisation of the unseen and invisible in 
its roots and powers. He is to change our vile 
body that it may be made like His glorious 
body. The grave and gate of death are needful 
for us all, ere we burst from the worm and 
chrysalis state into the flying and aerial con- 
dition. Meanwhile, the new Jerusalem has not 
come, and we are to go to it. We are on 
the road ; the way is faith, the way of hope. 
Eighteen hundred years of waiting have passed 
away, and the Church has grown by waiting. 
Its members have been saved by hope and 
faith. They did not here enter into the Celes- 
tial city, or walk on the Delectable mountains. 
But they saw them afar off, and were per- 
suaded of them, and got glimpses of their 
friends there, and heard their voices, and had 


many a vision of Christ Himself. This saved 
them; this, and their belief that the universe 
rolled on the wheels of God; that the chariot 
was driven by a true Governor; the road, it 
might be, dark and unknown to them at times, 
but the end good and sure — sure for them and 
others, from the character of Him who drove. 
In their ears was the everlasting chime of the 
towers of Heaven ; in their eyes scintillations of 
the Divine glory, coruscations of the Eternal 
throne, the still ocean and far shining of the 
stars of God. They trod the Via Sacra, not as 
captives but as conquerors ; they were to see 
God in the Capitol ; it was the path of the 
apostles, prophets, martyrs, and of that innu- 
merable company whom no man can number ; 
men and women who, under a common appear- 
ance, lived the life of faith, and were saved by 
it ; who had not yet what they sought, but waited 
for it. 

Let us, too, wait in faith and patience, learn- 
ing the lessons of our day and time, and, 
" showing all good fidelity, that we may adorn 
the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things," 


rest assured that "the grace of God that 
bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, 
teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and 
worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, 
and godly in this present world; looking for 
that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of 
the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, 
who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem 
us from all iniquity." 

Yet let us not undervalue "this present 
world" — this beauteous and marvellous world, 
with all its multiplied and manifold arrange- 
ments by which and in which we can see the 
character and handle the Divine Form of the 
great and good Artificer beneath and beyond, 
who looks through it and upon us with the eyes 
of Christ, ever saying, "It is I; be not afraid;" 
and who gives us all our various duties and pri- 
vileges here as means whereby we may rise 
upwards to Himself, and be like Him, knowing 
and doing what we have seen and see in Him, 
occupying until He come, working, but mean- 
while trusting and being patient and still. 

To which end let us take in the full meaning 


of His revelation in Christ — " He that spared 
not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us 
all, how shall He not with Him also freely give 
us all things ?" Let us not, from a mistaken 
timidity, empty this of meaning, by saying that 
it means some arrangement by which those 
who lay hold of it are safe, or that it is intended 
by God for some to lay hold of and not others, 
but let us read it as it is written, " How shall 
He not with Him also freely give us all things ?" 
— things surely less precious in themselves and 
more easily bestowed than the gift of His Son 
— a gift which bids us with the apostle say, 
" I am persuaded that neither death, nor 
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor 
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall 
be able to separate us from the love of God, 
which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord." Believing 
this, we are saved. Amen. 


" Where is now thy God P "—Psalm xlii. 3. 

T ET us hear the conclusion of the whole 
^~* matter. Miracles have ceased ; and, while 
they continued, those who wrought them did not 
set much store on them for the manifestation of 
God. Where are we, then, to find Him ? No 
doubt in the ordinary manifestations of nature 
and Providence, and in the evident livingness 
with which all things proceed from a less perfect 
to a more perfect state; in the "due season," the 
seed-time, growth, and harvest, and in the succes- 
sion of crops, spiritual and material, ever of an 
higher and holier order, ever pointing to an 
end, to which all imperfect because finite nature 
is progressing, an end which is shadowed 
forth by the words, "that God may be all 


in all." First nature, then the Sonship, finally 

So assuredly may we read that all the varia- 
tions lately visible in the character of religious 
belief arise from the different aspects of natural 
and of revealed religion which are presented as 
the development of human society requires and 
as the increasing needs of humanity demand ; so 
perceive that the recent great accessions to our 
possessions in the material world, as by the use 
of steam, of electricity, and other apparatus, 
have been co-equally and relatively given to us 
in spiritual things, in an increasing discernment 
of the meaning of Revelation, and in a higher 
moral and spiritual knowledge; so understand 
that the Mediaeval and Reformational aspects 
of truth are now being superseded by a percep- 
tion of the Fatherly character of God, and of the 
higher and more practical uses of conscience. 

For we must learn to know that revelation is 
the complement and not the contradiction of 
nature, and that any interpretation of Scripture 
which is contrary to nature and conscience must 
be erroneous. It cannot be that conscience is 


not the judge of supreme morality ; if it be not 
the judge of supreme, then it is no judge of 
morality at all. Assuredly morality here cannot 
be different from what it is elsewhere; it must be 
the same in earth and in Heaven ; and the judge 
which is judge in the one place must be also in 
the other, the laws being the same. Of course if 
we are no judges of morality, we are no judges 
of the value of revelation, or of its authority ; 
but in that case we do not know right from 
wrong, and no revelation therefore need have 
been given to us. But as we are judges, and as 
revelation is given because we are, so we must 
receive and interpret it ; we can only be sure of 
its being contained in Holy Scripture by our 
sense of right and wrong. In this way we shall 
find Scripture the complement and explanation 
of nature, and truly divine. The dividing be- 
tween nature and revelation, and applying a 
different rule of morality to each, is at the root 
of doubt as to the reality of revelation, and of 
the infidelity which succeeds it. 

God is educating the world by the gift of Con- 
science, of the Scriptures, and of His Son, for the 


inheritance of sons, calling men thereby to the 
knowledge of His purposes, manifesting that 
these are good, and thus to knowledge and 
choice, and the * power of free choosing. We 
lose the benefit of the gift if we do not 
avail ourselves of it> as it is given. It is ours, 
but it is to be made ours experimentally by 
search and conviction. 

Vicarious or Oracular guidance, as in the 
Church of Rome, is the frustration of God's 
purpose, and reduces men to the condition of 
agents and servants, instead of that of sons. 
And it is the same with the reception of any 
particular doctrine, as of Predestination. It 
must be subject to experiment, and not left to 
authority merely. We must keep to the Fatherly 
character of God, and believe that no human 
logic can be right which, drawing inferences from 
passages of Holy Writ, brings us into collision 
with moral consciousness. All inferences which 
contradict this must be erroneous, as when it is 
said that " By the decree of God, for the mani- 
festation of His own glory, some men are fore- 
ordained unto everlasting death." 


We must correct, wherever possible, the pre- 
valence of such erroneous and mischievous views. 
For, where heartily believed, they destroy the 
filial relation of God and His offspring, and 
(assigning a morality to God at variance with 
that enjoined on man) injure morality in the 
stream by destroying it at the fountain. 

And no doubt the time is fast approaching 
when such hurtful, though merely speculative, 
statements will be removed from the creeds of 
believers, and a union and copartnery in love 
and good works (now much to be wished) be in 
consequence effected and established. For light 
has come into the world; evil is now known 
to be evil, and good to be good; we know 
that evil is no form of good, but its antagonist, 
and only a way to good, as a step is trodden on 
to rise by. We know that both bear fruit ever 
in accordance with their own natures, fruit 
never absent, and never interchangeable; but 
that moral evil, if it arise from ignorance, is 
terminable by knowledge, or if from sin, by 
repentance, and that physical evil is terminable 
by change of form, or eventually by death. So 


God's providence leads onward to the more 
perfect day. 

We see that there is a necessary connection 
between sin and suffering, and one which is 
never removed ; but that there is no necessary 
connection between sin and humanity ; for 
" When the wicked man turneth away from his 
wickedness which he hath committed, and doeth 
that which is lawful and right, he shall save his 
soul alive." And it is the will of God that man 
should turn, and be righteous. God is righteous, 
and unchangeable ; and His unchangeable will is 
that man should be righteous ; it must be so with 
a righteous and unchangeable God. All God's 
dealings, therefore, with respect to man have for 
their object the accomplishment in man of this 

As neither time nor alteration in the condi- 
tion of humanity can change the will or cha- 
racter of God, this must always be man's rela- 
tion towards God — that God is educating him in 
righteousness. Man may vary, but the nature 
and purposes of God vary not. He is ever the 
same, and ever Father ; the Judge of quick and 


dead; ever dealing with man according to his 
works ; giving the wages belonging to everything, 
that man may learn the nature of things, and 
attain eternal blessedness by rejecting the evil 
and choosing the good. 

God is a Saviour, but He saves by delivering 
man from sin, not from punishment; nay, He 
delivers from sin by punishment. He heals the 
fountain, not the stream ; He deals with the 
disease, not with the symptoms. In Christ God 
is a great Physician, entering into the nature 
of humanity, to disentangle it from the meshes 
of sin, and to bring it near unto God in an ever- 
lasting righteousness. 

By the imitation of Christ, by the reception of 
His life as ours, by the knowledge that He is 
come in our flesh "taking the manhood into 
God," by the revelation that we are sons, a 
power enters into humanity which raises it to a 
higher level. From being a son of Adam, man 
becomes a son of God. Jesus, the Son of man, 
the great first-born, exclaims, " Lo, I come to do 
Thy will, O God," giving His flesh for the life of 
the world ; and as many as hear His voice say, 



' Come, and I, and I also.' As the Spirit of the 
Son enters into humanity, man recognises his 
high position and the nature of the Father ; that 
He is always Father, that man is ever son, ever 
dealt with as a son, and this for one object, that 
he may become partaker of the Father's holiness. 
Thus it is that man lays hold of a higher, yea, an 
eternal life. Man takes the will of God as his 
portion from seeing in Christ that it is a blessed 
will, and in the Spirit of Christ accepting it as 
such, whatever otherwise at the time it may 
appear. Thus in Jesus all the families of the 
earth are blessed, and all intelligent creation is 
to be blessed ; for the " wilderness and the soli- 
tary place shall be glad, and the desert shall 
rejoice and blossom as the rose." 

The prospects of the world, as to the future, 
are surely hopeful ; the processes of nature, of 
intellect, of the spiritual life, all evidently point 
in one direction, and that to a future higher 
than the past — to a future of beauty, of 
truth, and of power, in which all will share. 
It is at hand: let, us make it ours by recog- 
nising and taking up our inheritance, and 



removing stumbling-blocks from the way of 
Let us labour to hasten the day which is 
breaking ; labouring with faith and hope, attend- 
ing to the voice of God within, that voice which 
interprets the Word, Nature, and Providence 
without ; and let our confidence and comfort be 
and rest on this, that amidst the war of opinion, 
and the mysteries of Nature and of Providence, we 
are all being now taught and led on by God, and 
called to the knowledge of the truth — though it 
may be in a different and less sensible way — as 
Samuel was by a voice without, while signs 
were yet given, and the Lamp of God visibly 
shed its light in the Jewish Tabernacle. Let us 
ever lift up our hearts, and rejoice in the con- 
sciousness that .what God is, and must neces- 
sarily be, so must and will be His creation, a 
fact to be made manifest in due time, for which 
in faith we wait and work in the patience of 
hope and assurance, that, as we have such hope, 
the cause of our hope is as real as the hope, and 
no doubt greater and better than the hope itself. 
"Every creature which is in heaven, and 


on the earth, and under the earth, and such as 
are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I 
saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and 
power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the 
throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever " — 
(Rev. v. 13). Amen. 


" We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the 
weak, and not to please ourselves." — Romans xv. i. 

A CALL of a very remarkable description 

is now being made for missions to the 

heathen. It is remarkable in many ways — the 

way it had origin, the nature of the case, and 

that such a call should be needed. 

It took origin with the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, who, observing a number of Indian 
students attending the university classes in 
London, but still continuing heathens, was 
as much struck with the fact as Pope Gregory 
was more than a thousand years ago, when he 
sent Augustine, the Archbishop's first prede- 
cessor, to convert the " Angles " into " angels," 
as he said they would be were they Christians — 
a coincidence at all events in the character of 


the call, and we hope one of happy augury. It 
has been taken up by the other bishops of 
England, and by those of Ireland, America, and 
this country, and also by the Established and' 
Free Churches of Scotland, and has been re- 
sponded to by the simultaneous observance of 
a day set apart for the purpose. 

The circumstances .which gave rise to the 
call are also remarkable in other ways, but 
in none, perhaps, more than this, that all the 
great missionary societies — we believe With- 
out exception — make no call for money, of 
which they seem to have abundance, but for 
men, and the day was set apart solely for 
the purpose of stirring up a missionary spirit 
and for intercession to Almighty God to move 
the hearts of men in that direction. 

The backwardness of professing Christians in 
the cause of missions is certainly very remark- 
able; and when we consider the deplorable 
state of some heathen nations, such as China, the 
South-Sea Islands, and some parts of Africa, 
where infanticide and profligacy of the vilest 
types and all the evils of slavery are carried 


on in the face of day, when also we see the 
abundance of members of the clerical profession 
at home, and also of men professing Chris- 
tianity without any apparent occupation, and 
when we further observe the extraordinary 
energy, self-denial, and zeal carried by profess- 
ing Christians into secular pursuits, we fear that 
we can only explain this backwardness by a 
deficiency of Christian zeal, or by the diversion 
of Christian zeal into improper channels. 

The first is probably the greater cause ; for 
many have come to believe that Christianity is 
not all-important, that men can be " good " 
without it or without any very distinctive cha- 
racter of belief. Indeed, it is in many high quar- 
ters deemed sufficient to say that one thing is 
good in one place and another in another, that 
all will be judged according to their opportuni- 
ties, and that God's providence and will arrange 
all things. And no doubt there is some truth in 
J',:his statement. But yet we must reflect that 
■ many of the things practised by the heathen are 
ositive evils, and that it is impossible that the 
>rovidence or will of God can be concerned in 


them, so that they are good in one place whilst 
not in another, for in no place can such things 
be good, and God judges such things already by 
the misery they produce. An argument like the 
above, if carried far enough, would put an end 
to creation, and to God also. 

Let us, then, look at such things as they first 
present themselves — namely, as physical evils. 
We treat these with such remedies as are in 
our power ; and by medicine and surgery much 
evil has been abolished. It is not too much 
to say, for example, that vaccination and chloro- 
form alone have reduced to one-half the physical 
evils suffered by our fathers. But moral evils 
are the cause of many, if not of most, physical 
evils, and to a great extent are themselves 
curable. Immorality means a violation of the 
laws of conscience, and it brings with it in- 
variably physical suffering. Morality is the 
keeping of such laws, and brings with it freedom 
from suffering. Immorality can be cured. There 
are remedies for the conscience as there are for 
the body ; and the most powerful of these is the 
Christian religion. It has been found sufficient 


wherever it has been fairly tried. It regenerated 
the Roman empire at its first outburst, and 
formed Europe. Wherever Europe — as is now 
the case in many places — has fallen away from 
the height of the Christian religion, there, to the 
extent it has fallen, has immorality or corrup- 
tion again set in. 

The first work of Christianity was effected 
by special messengers or ministers ; and, 
wherever there is need, the like agency must 
be resorted to again. There can be no doubt 
that there is need of it now in heathen lands. 
But here two questions present themselves. 
What sort of ministry shall we send ? and what 
have we at our command ? The ministry re- 
quired will be different at different places. ' The 
intellectual and polished Hindoo requires a very 
different agency from the coarse and brutal 
savage; the civilised inhabitant of China from 
the untutored islander of the Pacific. Have we 
such variety at our command? The Societies 
tell us that we have not ; that there is a want of 
missionaries of every description. We have 
at our command — that is, of men offering 


themselves — next to none ; and it must be 
added, also, that the missions of our Societies 
have often been carried on by foreigners — 
chiefly by Germans. What is the reason of 
this ? A paucity, of clergy at home r This 
can hardly be said to be the case. If we look 
at the numbers designated as "reverend" at 
home, there are multitudes ; perhaps too many. 
Too much to do at home ? No doubt this is one 
reason ; but it is not the sole or even the main 
reason. The. work at home is great and crying ; 
the heathendom of some places at home is 
greater than that of parts not included in Chris- 
tendom. The work at home is by no means over- 
taken. , In some places it can scarce be said to 
be begun, and hardly anywhere is it adequately 
discharged. But it would be unfair to say that 
this is from want of clergy. It is rather, we 
fear, from a character of work on our part little 
applicable to our times. On Sundays our pul- 
pits are well supplied, and resound with excel- 
lent preaching ; but too much of the rest of the 
week is an absolute blank. The churches are 
then shut, there is little domestic missionary 


exertion, and (save, perhaps, in the country 

parishes of England) little religious intercourse 
of a missionary or even of a pastoral nature. I 
take the condemnation to myself. It is possible 
that a special order of pastors for Scotland is 
wanted, and of preachers for England. Any 
way, the work is not overtaken. But the chief 
reason we believe to be, not the want of work- 
men, but that the tone is struck upon too low a 
key. It requires something to raise it to a 
higher pitch. 

It is to be considered, then, whether the draft- 
ing off of some of our clergy to the elevating and 
heroic work of foreign missions would not raise 
the tone of those who are left behind, as well as 
carry to those abroad the blessings of religion. 
And we are not without hope that something in 
this direction may come to pass if this mis- 
sionary call is heard. For it cannot be doubted 
that zeal, if hitherto insufficient, is again stirring 
amongst us, and that, as in the other Churches, 
so in the Episcopal, there has been a great and 
increasing spiritual movement within the last 
thirty years ; and if this zeal in our own com- 


munion (according to my own convictions) has 
been hitherto directed towards insufficient ob- 
jects, there is no reason to conclude that it 
should always remain so. It is religious zeal, 
and if in the providence of God it were raised 
to higher things, it would be hard to say what it 
might not accomplish. Assuredly it would be 
of inestimable benefit if it were carried into 
missionary work; and for missionary work its 
energy and capacity for self-sacrifice are in- 
valuable. Such an application of it would give 
it a sufficient and worthy object, for want of 
which it has hitherto, in our opinion, been frit- 
tered away upon small or even improper objects, 
unworthy of itself and of the great issues at 
stake. But such an outcome for its zeal, while 
accomplishing a worthy object abroad, would 
relieve the Church at home at the same time of 
much unnecessary waste and expenditure in 
controversial strife. 

The present call does not contemplate clergy 
merely, but also other men of pious minds — men 
and women so piously and zealously disposed as 
to be willing and anxious to devote themselves to 


the work of missions. Such, when found qualified, 
can easily be endowed with the outward commis- 
sion. That is the second and inferior qualifica- 
tion, for many called have evidently not the 
higher calling, else would there be no present 
want. What is called for is men and women, 
moved by the Holy Ghost, to go forth unto the 
heathen. If any such present themselves to 
me, or to any other to whom authority has been 
given, anxious to be chosen and sent, it cannot 
be doubted but that they will find a fitting em- 
ployment. If any such feel themselves so in- 
wardly moved, and will communicate with my 
chaplain at Lochgilphead, the fullest attention 
will be given to their application. 

And when we think of the numbers of clergy 
insufficiently provided for and the number of 
young men who do not know how to occupy 
themselves, the numbers who can find no occu- 
pation, the numbers who, in search of wealth, of 
fame, even of a livelihood, or of mere sport and 
amusement, adventure themselves, and spend 
days and years in the farthest and most forbid- 
ding regions of the globe — in the Arctic and 


Torrid Zones — leaving their bones too often to 
whiten or decay there, or to be carried hither 
and thither in the currents of the ocean — we 
marvel that there are so few who, for higher 
and better things, go not so far, or go not at 
all. We blame not these going as they go ; 
far from it. We joy and rejoice in their 
energy and zeal. Would only that it were 
spent upon a higher and more satisfying ob- 
ject ! On the banks of the distant Euphrates 
is a dry desert, where no man dwells. Un- 
expectedly you come upon the tomb of the 
French missionary Besson ; you read — " Expec- 
tantes gloriosam spent et adventum Domini nostri 
Jesu Christi." (Looking for that glorious hope 
and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.) Why 
are there no more of such r What a tomb ! What 
a resting-place ! Have we not found a brother, 
a death greatly to be envied ? 

My heart bleeds for the mothers of this country. 
Nothing on earth is so divine and tender as a 
mother's heart. She seeks nothing but the hap- 
piness of her child, his highest happiness. She 
sees him grow up ; she tends and cherishes him. 


One day that well-known form is to go away, per- 
haps for ever. They must all go into the world, 
she says. She trusts he will be happy. She is 

not so occupied with his success. She hopes, 


however, he will return — that is the chief thing. 
She is hopeless without this hope. Many do 
not return ; perhaps most do not from the far- 
away portions of the earth to which they have 
gone : so she fears. One thing only could console 
her — one thing only, of which, alas, the mothers 
of this country know so little — this, that one 
day her son should come to her and say — 
' Mother, I go away to distant lands ; perhaps I 
shall, I think I ought, never return. I go on a 
mission for Christ to the heathen scattered 
abroad. If I die, mother, we shall meet 
in a better place ; and even now we shall 
not be divided. You will find me, and I you, 
everywhere and always, in Christ. I would 
stay — God knows how gladly — but there is work 
to do ; some one must do it ; I delight to do it, 
and to cast in my little work and life to the 
great contribution. It is all right, mother; to 
depart, to be with Christ, is far better — better 


for you as for me/ She would feel it was so, 
and shed no tear, but say, 'Many a time up 
from my youth have I given thanks to the Lord, 
but never so much as now.' Why is it that the 
mothers of this country have no such partings ? 
Why do not they bring up their children to 
think of this as the object and aim of their 
lives ? Then would they have joy in their sons, 
joy instead of anxiety and sorrow — joy in their 
going as in their staying, in their lives as in 
their deaths — and be afraid of no evil tidings. 
For nothing new or strange can happen to those 
for whom death is no evil but a remedy, at 
once opening Heaven. 

And how many are there who, if not afraid, 
are yet burdened with the anxieties of the day 
— rich men, who are richest, however, in care, 
and men likewise who know not how to dispose 
of themselves, who would find their lives all at 
once free from burdens and full of enjoyment if 
they first "burnt their curious books," and 
taking no thought for to-morrow, left for the east 
and the west, the north or the south, as they 
were sent to the great harvest of mankind, the 


great work of doing good, of bearing each 
other's burdens, in the imitation of Jesus 
Christ ! 

Yes, " the harvest is truly plenteous, but the 
labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord 
of the harvest that He will send forth 
labourers into His harvest." No doubt wc 
should pray ; and a day of intercession has been 
appointed and kept, and much prayer made. 
But, after all, is there not something unreal 
about this very thing ? Do we not all know 
perfectly well what we ought to do ? Is the 
blame with God or with man as to the want of 
missionary enterprise ? If we believe in the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and that He gives us the very 
mind and spirit of God, how can we pray for 
that which we have already received ? It is a 
solemn question. The Spirit of God already 
and always says, and has said, " Come." It is 
not the host, but the guests which are un- 
prepared; as before, so now men have to be 
compelled to come to the work and table of the 
Lord. What then, now, is that compulsion r It 
is two-fold. First, the pathetic appearance of 


the harvest going to waste ; and then, that the 
labourers are not wanted where they are. 


The harvest is going to waste ; the lives of men, 
the great and glorious spectacle of humanity, 
in one sense so sad, in another so encouraging 
— India, our own, with all its vast plains 
and gigantic rivers and mountains, its old 
civilisation, its interesting people — the ancestors 
of our own — India, where so many bones of our 
own kindred are interred, so long and so 
happily ruled and regulated, mainly by our own 
countrymen — India, in which there is no spot 
where a Scottish footstep has not trod, and 
a Scottish heart has not beat ; alas ! where 
likewise many a Scottish heart has broken 
— India, which is truly ours, however, and is 
now presided over by a chieftain of our own — 
India, whence so many millions have been de- 
rived, which have elevated and adorned the 
homes of the mother country — what do we not 
owe to India ? And then China, with its teem- 
ing myriads, its ancient literature, its strange 
mixture of good and evil, the traces of an an- 
tique and far-reaching morality, now degene- 



rated to names and traditions, to immorality arid 
to crime ! The South Sea Islanders, with their 
beauteous forms and luxurious habits, disap- 
pearing before their own profligacy, aided no 
doubt by the lusts and crimes of too many so- 
called Christians — shall we not help to save, 
to raise, instead of lowering, so attractive and 
gifted a race— help, that is, to make them 
Christian, instead of ourselves becoming Pagan ? 
Alas, the crimes and bad examples of those 
who should have known better have most 
stood in the way of the conversion of the 
heathen ! We are not, however, of those who 
believe that, on the whole, the influence of the 
European on the native races of the East and 
South has been injurious. On the contrary, with 
all their shortcomings, the rule of the British, 
for example, in Hindostan has been an incal- 
culable blessing to the natives ; and their good 
example as. a race in the matters of justice, self- 
denial, and courage, has gone far to redeem 
many isolated instances of evil influence. It 
may be different in China, where both our public 
and private acts have for the most part been 


unworthy. And in the South Seas, with the 
exception of New Zealand, little but evil has 
been seen in the lives of Europeans ; and pro- 
bably no missionary exertion now can quite 
make up for the shortcomings of the past. 
But, in the main, the influence of the Euro- 
pean races has been, if not in a positive, yet 
in a negative sense, good. It is time, how- 


ever, that it should assume a higher character 
— that is, a positive and more distinctive form 
— that exertions should be made to infuse a real 
and distinctive Christianity. No doubt much has 
already been done by isolated exertions, as in 
India, where the memories of Martyn, Marsden, 
Heber, Judson, Schwartz, Carey, Duff, and others, 
are still fresh, and held sacred by all, in New 
Zealand, where the names of Williams, Patteson, 
and Selwyn, and in Africa those of Livingstone 
and Bishop Mackenzie, shine with apostolic 
lustre. But it is time that more should be done, 
and many more names of confessors added, and 
that influences should be exerted on a larger 
and more continuous scale. What means, then, 
are there at our disposal ? 


The labourers are few ! Yet we believe that if 
they were still fewer the work would be better 
done — better at home, and abroad also. At 
home, because, as we have already said, so many 
are not wanted. Required they may be, but 
wanted — that is, desired — no ! That they are re- 
quired we do not doubt. The Paganism at home, 
in many respects, is as bad as that of Heathendom. 
The increase of wages in many places has led but 
to the increase of immorality and crime. In too 
many places, man in our country has not yet 
risen above the animal level, and an increase ot 
means leads only to an increase of animal en- 
joyment. Our country, in consequence, exhibits 
spectacles at this moment from which most other 
parts of Christendom would stand aghast — • 
drunkenness, voracity, filth, utterly Unknown in 
southern Europe, and looked on there with 
loathing and disgust ; but the ministry, so far as 
yet experienced, has made no impression on it. 
Whether the coming education will do so re- 
mains to be seen ; we trust and believe it will. 
It is time, at all events, that it should be 
attempted. Were that in progress, the ministry 


might then step in, perhaps, with some hope: 
it might at once, and at this moment, no doubt, 
by personal and pastoral appeals, do much ; 
but from the pulpit it is powerless, powerless 
because the subjects to be cured are not pre- 
sent to hear. But we believe that the ministry, 
as we have said, would be refreshed by a mission 
to foreign parts; fresh fields and pastures new 
would do much ; here, in many places, it is not 
wanted— that is, desired — and the Divine com- 
mand, " When they persecute you in this place, 
flee ye into another," is not fulfilled. There 
are many ways of being "persecuted." In 
the Apostolic times such as were not received 
were stoned, sawn asunder, crucified, and 
killed with the sword. With us it is different. 
But there are many ways short of this whereby 
a man may not be received, which the usages of 
society clearly make manifest, and which a little 
common sense enables one easily to apprehend. 
There are no barriers more insuperable than the 
invisible barriers of society. How, then, do we 
know when we are not received ? We shall not 
speak of Established Churches, because it is 


hard for their ministry to know whether they 
are received or not. Custom, position, and a 
provided competence all combine to hide from 
them the real state of the case ; but it is not so 
with those called Free or Voluntary. There the 
tests are simple, and because severe are read 
more easily. Can the clergyman, then, be said 
to be well received who finds his maintenance 
difficult ; who only can achieve it by appeals, col- 
lections, and endless schemes for raising money ; 
who lives by such exertions ? And are churches 
well received which exist only by competition, 
advertisement, and externals? Surely not. It 
is a false life both for such churches and for 
their ministry — a life injurious to them both, as 
it is to Christianity itself. Far better for such to 
go unto the heathen. Far better — because there 
the work is unmistakable and called for. There 
Heaven is open and death is gain ; here, on the 
contrary, in such a case, a living death is 
followed by a doubtful paradise. For are such 
desired here? Do they feel they are desired? 
Is their work a real work, or only fancy work ? 
Alas, for all such as are not sure that their 


work is wanted ! Our country is full of such ; 
churches and clergy who are not wanted, and 
who had far better go unto the heathen. For it 
is to be considered — if the poor are not minis- 
tered to by pastoral care — whether the rich have 
not now all the teaching they require by means 
of the press. For the administration of the 
Sacrament, surely one administrator in every 
parish is enough. We look forward in the 
years to come to a great efflux of our clergy to 
foreign missions — to a great and increasing 
exodus. The call has been heard, the word has 
gone forth, the time has at last come. The 
very misery of so many clergy at home has 
brought on a crisis. Such, often, are the means 
adopted by God for the inauguration of new 
movements, and the occupation of fresh territory. 
He makes the old impossible. 

One thing, however, must be steadily kept in 
view in thus going forth to the heathen — viz., 
that we do not take to foreign lands the divisions 
which exist among ourselves. If the immorality 
which has existed among Christians abroad has 
gone far to prevent the success there of missions, 


the divisions among Christians have done the 
rest. How are the heathen in such a case to 
know whom to believe ? And the divisions are 
unnecessary. Alas ! we pray against our " un- 
happy divisions," while most of them are of our 
own making. Here it may be that tradition, 
habit, prejudice, ignorance have cut such deep 
channels that a new surface is impossible ; there 
it is not. Preferences for form and such like there 
may be; but the essentials, as they are the 
same, must be the same everywhere. And the 
first essential is that Christians should "all be of 
one ; " one, because Christians. Not, that is, 
by artificial and mechanical distinctions, not by 
the law of a carnal connection, but by the one 
spirit, the power of an endless life, and the 
possession of the mind which was in Christ. 
What that is none of us can doubt. What, 
however, do we too often see abroad, as 
at home ? That mind ? Alas, no ; too often 
but the building up of that which Christ came 
to destroy — divisions, distinctions, priesthoods, 
castes. Yet in Christ's kingdom, it was said, 
there is to be " neither Jew nor Greek, nor bond 


nor free, neither male nor female ; " as neither, 
in its glorified state, is there even to be 
" marriage or giving in marriage." It is, and 
is to be, a spiritual kingdom, created and 
kept together by spiritual bonds. The kingdom 
of Christ is this; this is what He came to set 
up ; this is that which makes all other kingdoms 
superfluous. But what do we see instead ? Too 
often men but seeking to set up their own 
kingdoms, and making their own definitions 
of them. Men sent, for instance, to India to 
abolish caste, setting up caste, a caste of their 
own making. This is what the Roman Church 
has done, and has fallen by so doing. ' I am 
the truth,' says its chief priest; 'I make the 
truth, and this is the truth so made ' — identifying 
himself with truth, and making the truth by 
mechanical processes. From this we separated 
ourselves at the Reformation. Should we now 
return to it, and set up again that which we 
then destroyed ? Alas, however, this is done 
among ourselves, in smaller but similar ways, 
whereas the spirit alone is the truth, and the true 
spirit is " the mind which was in Christ Jesus." 


We hear great complaints from abroad that 
missions are not successful. Appeals are made 
to us at home for men, for money. But is not 
the cause of the unsuccess too often this, that 
Christ is not preached, and a system is set 
up instead — a system which will accept not 
as its members those who do not enter by 
its own little gate — a gate which is not that 
of Christ, for His spirit is not there ? Whoso 
accepts Christ as come in the flesh is born 
of God, and to be received. Yet such are 
rejected. And then complaints are made of 
the unsuccess of missions. There can be no 
success for things like these. There can be 
none, for there ought to be none, and so there 
is none. Official dignities, names, places, are 
multiplied ; definitions, distinctions, added ; but 
no kingdom is set up — no kingdom because 
there is no king — for the Head of Christ's king- 
dom is Christ Himself. 

Yet let us lift up our hearts. The call for 
missions from our ecclesiastical representa- 
tives is surely encouraging. It is the right 
note, the true key — one which, if responded 


to, will both improve the Church at home, 
and give a name and inheritance at last to 
the heathen external to us. It is a glorious 
and gracious call. Blessed is he that heareth, 
and still more he that followeth, the voice. 
How long has the world cried, and its travailing 
gone on — the creature seeking to be delivered 
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious 
liberty of the children of God ! We have libe- 
rated many after the flesh, let us now liberate 
them after the spirit. Physically we have manu- 
mitted them, let us go on to free them morally. 
There can be no mistake about the work. Pro- 
found as are the mysteries of Providence, afflict- 
ing as is the state of the heathen, we are in the 
presence of no greater difficulty there than we 
are here in daily life — the degree may be 
greater, but in kind the difficulty is the same 
— viz., the existence and presence of evil. The 
question is the same, and the answer, no doubt, 
is the same — "Excelsior." That is, we are to 
be fellow-workers with God. If we say — i Is 
God then so clearly the enemy of evil, and on 
the side of good ? Is anything other than what 


He wills it to be ? ' I answer in the words of 
one but lately taken from among us, and of 
whose moral grandeur I do not think we have 
yet formed a sufficiently high estimate, Dr. J. 
M'Leod Campbell, "Hatred may believe this, 
but love cannot." Love is surely the best of 
all things, and God Himself must therefore be 
that ; God is accordingly the enemy and antago- 
nist of evil. Love is the best and highest of 
all things, and therefore one with God, on the 
side of good, and the enemy of evil, everywhere 
and always. Going forth, then, to such a war- 
fare, and on such a mission, the presence and 
power of God are assuredly with us — the inex- 
tinguishable goodness of God, the unconquerable 
love of Christ. They may not always deliver 
us from apparent evil, but they will always de- 
liver us from the evil which is real if we keep 
close to them ; and with the real, the apparent 
will sooner or later go, for it is but a conse- 
quence. To such as are, then, in communica- 
tion with the heathen the words should ever 
sound in their ears, " Ye, then, that are strong 
ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and 


not to please yourselves ; " and, as was said to 
Joshua in a similar war, " Get thee up, where- 
fore liest thou thus on thy facer" These are 
words which carry with them both the will and 
power of God.